A final, final word… – OPEN

Add your own custom notes.

You need to login before you can record your own custom course notes.

Registration is easy, and completely free.

Topic 12.15: A final, final word...

Likes people like this topic - including you!

SharesThis topic has been shared 25 times!

Progress2,602 people have passed the quiz

No-one starts a project hoping or even expecting that it will fail – failure is by and large an unexpected outcome.

So what can we do to anticipate and avoid it?

Here are 10 lessons from successful projects that might help…

Projects need to be aligned to organisational goals. It sounds almost too obvious to state, but great ideas may not always be in the best interest or structural capacity of the performing organisation. Organisational goals change over time too, and projects can get left behind. Without that clear association between the project and the goals of the organisation, management support is quickly lost.

And projects need effective management support. Effective management support includes an empowered sponsor willing to champion the project, and the buy-in of the executive team ultimately funding it.

Projects need effective leadership, too. Hopefully the earlier presentation on the perfect project manager made this clear! The project team must have a positive results focus and customer orientation, and a strong sense of collaboration and teamwork.

Extending this, all key stakeholders need to be in agreement on the purpose, goals and objectives of the project, share realistic expectations of project results, and have those expectations constantly managed and validated throughout the project. Each stakeholder (including team members) must clearly understand their role(s), responsibilities and relationship to the project.

This depends on project communications being consistent, effective and focused on understanding.

A significant investment must also be made in project planning. Execution should be the easy part! The project scope, approach and deliverables need to be clearly defined and agreed upon during planning. A high priority should be placed on accurate and complete work effort estimates, and a realistic schedule must be developed and agreed.

Effective planning should also guarantee that project resources are fit for purpose and available when needed.

Furthermore, project progress must be measured consistently from the current baseline. Changes to scope, time, cost and quality need to be closely managed, and project issues and subsequent actions should be aggressively pursued.

Better still, the project team should proactively identify risk and determine responses to reduce project exposure. After all, the prevention of issues is always far better than our attempts at cure.

And finally, project learnings should be retained and transferred from project to project within the organisation.

SourceGreg Horine

‘Ok,’ I hear you say, ‘But that’s all a bit much in one go. Can you give me just three key things to take home today?’

Well if you learn nothing else, know this: the three critical factors for project success are planning, communication, and change management.

You may have heard elsewhere the six P’s of Project Management: ‘Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance.’ 

And yes, we know there is a seventh P, but you’ll have to Google that yourself.

It has also been suggested that if the project stakeholders don’t know what you are doing, they suspect you are doing nothing. 

To that I would add, if they suspect you are doing nothing they will often try and fill the void themselves. 

This ‘help’, however, invariably serves the interests of the individual, with little appreciation of (or even interest in) the context of the project. 

Therefore, although regular stakeholder communication may seem to take time away from the ‘doing’ of the project, it is an investment that buys you a much greater amount of space, time and certainty of outcome in the long run.

‘The only constant is change.’ 

Nowhere is that more true than in the world of project management. 

As we said at the start of this module, project managers are essentially problem-solvers, the best of whom are adept at anticipating, prioritising and resolving the set of technical and social challenges presented by their projects.

Now you have everything you need to be a successful project manager!

As you start or continue your journey into the wonderful world of projects, keep in mind that project management is more than a task, job or even a career.

It is a profession with a dynamically evolving body of knowledge and a global community of practice.

And as you complete the final assessment activities in this course, reflect on what you have learned, but also on what you have achieved.