Categorized | Management

14 reasons why Projects succeed

An unflattering number of projects fail. Despite all the methodologies and training available things go wrong with the result that projects fail to deliver their benefits or deliver something that is poor quality. Even worse are the organizations that don’t understand whether they have succeeded of failed as their understanding of what constituted a success was not clearly defined. Indeed many companies do not even measure success despite significant capital inevestment.

All projects start with a view of success – nobody wants to fail and no one expects too at the outset of the project. When viewing projects, the key understanding is that so many things can go wrong often irrelevant of the complexity in the deliverable (or method of deployment). Where too many issues occur all too often the project does not continue to be viable and is stopped (or runs out of funding). Failure can come in a variety of shapes and sizes – budgets being removed, project resources migrating, lack of senior stakeholder buy in (confusion over or doubts about the benefits).

However the good news is that not all projects fail – despite some of the horrendous statistics which are commonplace (1 out of every 2 IT projects for example) – some do succeed.

But what facilitates success? Projects are a mix of so many things that it can sometimes feel like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. Competent organizations aim to retain successful project managers and teams, they learn from their mistakes and they employ methods and strategies that foster success. Success is not luck. Success comes with best practice, following the rule book, being patient and completing your project methodically.

Consider the following attributes of a successful project

1/ Fully developed and clear project scope
2/ Clearly defined requirement and customer expectation
3/ Clearly understood and measurable success criteria
4/ Demonstrable use of risk management techniques
5/ Effective communications plan that encompasses the whole project community
6/ Detailed and effective project plans incorporating key constraints
7/ Clear assumptions
8/ Estimates firmed up as project matures
9/ Dependencies well understood and incorporated into the project plan
10/ Effective management of 3rd party organizations
11/ Clear lines of responsibility
12/ Clear Governance through appropriate sponsor and steering committee
13/ Appropriate budget in accordance with plan
14/ Sufficient resources (of the right calibre)

Now we’re not saying that if you have all of these then your project will definitely succeed but clearly by not having some (or all) then you increase the level of risk of failure.

One of the key issues in project management is that there are so many things that could go wrong hard issues such as a risk being realized through to soft issues such as the political environment within the business. However the underlying principle regarding success is that methods and strategy work. Failing to utilize these common best practices (well published and well understood) you risk hampering your opportunities right from the start.

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