“Only 2.5% of companies successfully complete 100% of their projects.”
Let that sink in for a minute.
This means, nearly 98% of projects carried out by companies fail to reach its objectives (produce planned deliverables) within budget and on time. Why? Research carried out by the Project Management Institute emphasizes several reasons for project failure including inadequate planning, poor organizational performance, etc.
While proper project management is considered essential to the success of a project, a majority of organizations believe that it is also critical to organizational growth and business performance. Not many organizations are successful in achieving their project goals, but those companies that do, certainly employ effective project management practices.
What Makes a Successful Project?
A successful project can be defined as one that is able to produce planned deliverables within budget and on time. Given the strategic importance of project success to an organization, employing an effective project management plan isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
A project is made of several components within an organization – from human and non-human resources to budget and stakeholders. Project success is based on the careful and efficient management and implementation of these parts and with an excellent strategy, you’ll be able to make sure that the objectives are accomplished effortlessly.
An Experienced Project Manager
It’s beyond questioning; an experienced project manager is invaluable, more so in handling the management of complex projects that involve several teams.
However, a certificate and experience alone won’t enable a project manager to lead her team towards completing a project successfully. While it is required of a project manager to be committed, engaged and agile, if she doesn’t interact well or isn’t trusted by the rest of her team, it would become difficult to manage a team or a project for that matter.
Effective communication is vital throughout the life of any project. Research shows that about 57% of projects fail due to breakdown in communications. Effective communication lays the foundation to a clear reporting structure and transparency which are essential to increase the productivity of team members.
Through communication and collaboration software or via more traditional methods such as daily or weekly project review meetings, effective communication could be maintained. Within such a communication system, the team or teams can stay aware of how the project is progressing, and manage their own tasks accordingly.
Attainable and Measurable Goals
A goal sets a destination and defines the path you should take. Every decision the team may take, after undertaking a project, is to ensure that the goal/goals are accomplished. But before setting a goal, it is the responsibility of the organization to make sure that it is attainable as well as measurable.
If the goal does not align with strategic objectives of the organization, then it is rather a waste of time and of resources. Make sure your project goals are specific, relevant and time-based.
A Realistic Budget
Most organizations lose large sums of money invested in projects due to poor performance and misuse of resources. A budget, therefore, should cover all the necessary expenses, which include not only the expenses for the resources that are directly included in a project but also the additional expenses the company may have to bear in case of any threat.
Properly Allocated Resources
Proper resource allocation is imperative to project success. While it is important to assign competent people for the correct task, it is equally important to make sure that all requirements of the team members are fulfilled in a timely manner to ensure that the project flow is not disturbed.
Frequent Practices of Risk Management
Risks to a project may occur at any moment, unannounced. Being prepared to face – in terms of funding or manpower – such unexpected threats is essential to prevent a project from failing.
This is why it is important to carry out frequent risk management practices. Carry out measurements to identify the chances of a risk or risks before every new task in a project; this way you can take the necessary precautions.
Successful Talent Management
A proper talent management strategy aims to recruit, retain and improve the most talented employees available in the job market. Since a project largely runs on the skills of the team members, talent management can be seen as critical to project success.
With better talent management, an organization increases its ability to perform better; this means reaching project goals on time and within budget. A good talent management strategy includes frequent employee training programs, employee recognition programs, etc.
Effective Stakeholder Management
Project success can also be interpreted as meeting the expectations of stakeholders. Stakeholders are those who have vested interest in your project; it could be your customer, supplier, subcontractors or even the government.
According to how the project may turn out, they may either gain something or lose their investment. Unless your stakeholders are happy, reaching your project goals in time and on budget may be futile. Therefore, make sure to integrate the expectations of your stakeholders into your project goals; that way you can deliver to their satisfaction.
As long as you manage to include each of these elements in your project during the planning stage of your project, project success is within your grasp. Take one out; it could lead to complete project failure.