We’re often asked what are the key factors that make or break a project. While we don’t believe there is a magic formula for project success, there certainly are key ingredients needed to keep a project on track.
…or should we say open communication. Making sure that your project team know what their roles are, and feel able to come to you (the Project Manager) if there is an issue is key. Likewise, the team needs to be kept well-informed about what’s happening with the project, communication is key to get the team on-board and ‘owning’ their part of the project.
Open communication with the client is also vital to make sure they know what is happening with the project, and to keep them informed of any issues and how you’re planning to overcome them.
While it might seem obvious, careful planning from the start of a project is key to project success. Setting and agreeing a realistic and reliable timeline will help with cost estimates, resource allocation, milestone setting and agreeing the deliverables. As the project progresses the plan will also double as a warning system to highlight should there be any slippage.
The Right People
Having a talented project team around you will drive a project forward to a successful conclusion. Everyone on the team must have commitment to the project, ‘own’ their responsibilities and have a shared vision. A team that isn’t working together can cause a lot of problems for a project, so make sure you have the right team on-board and that those involved gel together as a group, not just work colleagues.
Risk Management and Mitigation
We wouldn’t expect any project to go entirely as planned (and if it has we want to know your secret!), so careful risk management and planning will help your team and reassure your client. Anticipate the potential risks your project may face as you are in the planning phase, and ensure your risk log has an action plan for the team to follow should the risk arise.
Share these potential risks with your team and client to show that you are prepared should a risk occur. Your team will also feel confident about how to deal with any risks and, once mitigated, the project can progress as planned.
Handover and Closure
It is vital for you and your client to understand and agree when the project is (or will be) complete. Your role as the project lead is to agree with the client the critical success factors at the start of the project so you can demonstrate they have all been met and as such the project is complete. A project that doesn’t have a definite ‘close’ risks draining resources and losing credibility.
So there you have it, our five factors that we believe make for a successful project. There are certainly many more, but we believe by following these tips any project will stand in good stead.
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