Search This Blog

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Top 10 Success Factors for Managing Project

It might be difficult to define the success of the project.              
You'd think that delivering what the client wants on time and on budget would be considered success and it would, but there are other ways to achieve a successful outcome. Each client will have their own idea of success. One client may be willing to sacrifice features for a quicker delivery, another may be happy to extend the timeline to add in additional features. In both cases, the client gets what they want and the project is considered a success. In both cases, the project did not deliver on time, on budget with agreed functionality. This is where we need to start thinking outside the square.
Applying below simple techniques will help you avoid many common problems that befall many project managers:

1) Business Case:

Ensure that there is a strong business case, with high level support, that everyone can buy into. The business case is the justification for the project and should list the expected benefits.

2) Critical Success Factors:

Define with the customer the Critical Success Factors that will make the project a success. Ensure that you make them measurable e.g. a 20% reduction in the cost of raw materials by the end of the year. Monitor these factors for the project success.
Now that we know what all the success factors are, we need to get the client to rate them. It's an arbitrary rating system designed to establish the relative importance of each factor. What you need to do is: for each success factor find out how important it is on a scale of one to four.

3) Planning:

Time spent planning is time well spent. All projects must have a plan with sufficient detail so that everyone involved knows where the project is going. A good plan provides the following benefits: -
·         Clearly documented project milestones and deliverables
·         A valid and realistic time-scale
·         Allows accurate cost estimates to be produced
·         Details resource requirements
·         Acts as an early warning system, providing visibility of task slippage
·         Keeps the project team focused and aware of project progress                        

4) Team Motivation:

A motivated team will go that extra mile to deliver a project on time and to budget. Keep your team motivated by involving them throughout the project and by planning frequent milestones to help them feel they are making progress. Communication is key here, so let your team know when they are performing well, not just when they are performing badly.

5) Saying No:

Believe it or not some project managers and some team members come to that, have a problem saying no. Never promise anything you know you can't deliver, you are just storing up problems for later. Stick to your guns no matter how senior or important the person is, they'll thank you for it later. If they don't perhaps you're in the wrong job. When saying no, be firm and prepared to justify the reasons behind your decision.

6) Avoiding Scope Creep:

Scope creep is one of the most common reasons projects run over budget and deliver late. Don't forget the customer will forget the extra work and effort you have put in, insisting that you have delivered what they asked for originally.

7) Risk Management:

Nobody likes to think about risks especially early on in a project. Avoid risk management at your peril. I recommend that you produce a risk log with an action plan to minimise each risk and then publish it to all the key stakeholders in your project. Knowing what action you will take, should the worst happen, will be a great comfort.

8) Constant Review:

Successful project managers diligently and regularly review progress against the schedule, budget and quality elements of the project. Regular review allows problems to be identified early so that corrective action can be taken to keep the project on track. Review also helps team members to learn and improve their skills.

9) Meeting agreed budget/schedule:

From a sales perspective, the first thing you want to know is if the client has a budget/schedule and what the budget/schedule is. If you have a set budget/schedule, the goal is to work out what you can deliver for that budget/schedule and make the client happy that they got a good deal. However, there are times when the budget/schedule isn't large enough for the features required. If that's the case, then there are only two options:
1. Increase budget
2. Cut scope

10) Project Closures:

Remember that projects have a finite life. A project that isn't closed will continue to consume resources. It's in the customer's interest to keep the project open so they can add new features and functionality as they think of them. At the end of a project be firm, agree with the customer that the Critical Success Factors have been met, the project delivered, tested, released and ask them to sign the project off.

1 comment:

  1. To stop making avoidable mistakes in project management one can also try attending good at PMP classes conducted by any of the PMI registered REP's for gaining expertise best processes of project management. Any good at PMP prep course will provide students with lots of actionable insights in project management along with preparing them for PMP certification.