Project ManagementRisk Management

5 Key Reasons Why Some Projects Succeed and Some Don’t

Project success rates are finally on the rise, but success rates are historically so bad in the first place that it is not quite cause for celebration yet. The reality is projects keep failing, and businesses keep scratching their heads at the swamp of reasons for it. In an article for Project Times, Brad Egeland shares five underlying factors of project success that can make all the difference:

  1. Proper planning
  2. Close budget oversight
  3. Project team ownership of task
  4. Error-free deliverables
  5. Solid customer engagement

The Pillars of Success

The “proper” in proper planning is a loaded term, because the answer to “How much planning is enough?” changes on every project. Still, Egeland has some recommendations. He believes in the value of sending out a project communication plan at the start of every project. He also says project managers need to feel confident in their oversight of project scope, financials, managing resources, and managing risk. Budget control will be essential throughout. Toward that end, put real scrutiny into metrics like estimated effort versus actual effort, and ensure that projects are being properly billed. Managers should let their teams know (nicely, preferably) that they are paying attention, and that budget must stay in scope.

In order to ensure individual team members feel fully invested in their work, Egeland says to give them full ownership over tasks. Defining, tracking, and reporting all become their job. The faster they wrap their heads around that, the sooner and more ably they can assist the manager in fleshing out the project schedule.

As for “error-free” deliverables, Egeland acknowledges they are a tall order. But at least striving for accuracy is always possible. Peer review is one of the most simple and effective ways to weed out obvious-but-not-quite-obvious-enough mistakes. Scrubbing out mistakes, even trivial ones like typos, is important in the long term, because people will lose faith in a team who too regularly produces errors.

Finally, about customer engagement, Egeland shares this:

The engaged customer is the one that is available to exchange ideas, supply and receive information, provide critical input on key project decisions that need to be made and can clarify requirements or business processes on the spot when progress requires it. If the project manager can keep the customer focused more on your project than the hundreds of other things that are trying to take up his or her time, then you win that battle in making it easier to get quick info when the situation requires it. You will be able to make sure that the customer is sitting in those weekly project status meetings helping make next step plans when they come up. Win-win.

You can view the original article here:

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