15 Secrets For Project Success

15 Secrets For Project Success

Finding the secret to a successful project is the holy grail for a project manager and indeed for most businesses. Well it is for me, and I certainly have my own thoughts on what the key factors of success are and, while I could cite something around “integrating the 9 function areas of PMBoK”, This doesn’t really add much value.

So what is the one thing that if we do right would return the biggest chance of project success? Well for me, the most important factor to project success is effective and transparent communication.

But this is just my opinion from my experiences, so to garner an unbiased opinion, I asked 16 of the top project management bloggers this very same question. “What is the number 1 thing you must do to ensure project success”.

I deliberately kept this to one thing, because as we know, there are many factors that lead to project success and keeping this to 1 reason is tough. It takes clarity of thought and balls to back it!

Key Factors Of Project Success According To Leading Project Managers Are:

Communication & Stakeholder Engagement

  • Communication – open, honest communication whether it be objectives, scope, requirements, expectations of the team/colleagues/the business, progress, issues, the plan. That way everyone knows where they stand and what is expected of them.

– Allen Ruddock Www.arra-pm.com/blog | Twitter 

  • Raise the value proposition in your organisation by focusing on the customer first.  Build relationship and partner to achieve quality results and outcomes.

– Naomi Caietti http://theglassbreakers.weebly.com/naomis-blog.html | Twitter  | LinkedInRebelMouse

  • Identify and manage Stakeholders.

– Angel Berniz http://www.ProjectManagers.org

  • Broker mutual understanding across the stakeholders client and delivery teams.

– Craig Brown http://www.craigwbrown.net/ | Twitter

  •  Connecting with people; stakeholders and team members. Project Managers often hide behind their desk and their plans, but after all people deliver projects!

– Susanne Madsen http://www.susannemadsen.com

  • Make sure your project owner/sponsor understands his role and takes responsibility

– Henny Portman http://hennyportman.wordpress.com

  •  Foster a culture of transparency and accountability

– Kelsey van Haaster BetterProjects.net

  • Understand what the senior stakeholders really want

– Russell Whitworth Q2associates

Planning/Scope and Understanding The Vision

  • Ensure that there is clarity around the project’s purpose, plan, and deliverables.  Everyone must be on the same page!  This cannot be over-communicated.

– Brian Leach http://www.steelray.com/blog

  • 1. Plan in outline for the entire project and in detail for the next stage.
  • 2. Identify and actively manage stakeholders.
  • 3. Manage risk and opportunity.

– Martin Webster Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

  • Agree on scope.

– Toby Elwin Twitter | Slideshare | LinkeIn  | Google+

  • Most fundamentally, the project needs to deliver a positive return on investment.  Quite simply, if a project costs $500, but returns $400 of benefit it makes absolutely no sense to run it. I am continually amazed by the number of projects that get launched without having put a basic value on the business case.  Project Managers often struggle to describe the value of the benefits they are delivering, and therefore give an accurate view of whether the project is successful or not.

– Francis Hooke http://qualityprojectdelivery.com/blog

  • The most important thing to do well in a project to ensure success is get the scope right at the start of the project. Ensure that the scope is easy to understand and all stakeholders agree on the scope. The scope is the foundation that a successful project is built on.

– Barry Hodge http://projectnewstoday.com Twitter  LinkedIn

  • Own issues – be tenacious in resolving them.

– Ian Webster Twitter | LinkedIn

  • Know your destination, what the end target it and then plan the path for getting there.

– Shim Marom | Twitter | www.quantmleap.com

While I have categorised these comments into groups in order to make it easier to read, each of these are well considered comments by some leading project management bloggers around the world and each should be read on its own merits.

Even so, a clear trend has emerged, granted this is only a small grouping, but inline with what my expectations were. Project success factors can be grouped into 2 key categories.

  1. Communication and stakeholder management is critical to success. After all people deliver projects, not software or a perfectly considered and documented project plan.
  2. The second is understanding the vision behind the project and planning for it appropriately. Without a sound plan and clear understanding of the what and the why, there is little chance of success, the more effort that is spend here upfront, the better in my opinion!

I would like to thank all these project managers for the experiences and well considered thoughts on project success and where our focus should be. What are your thoughts on project success factors? Leave a comment below and share your experiences and thoughts!

Filed Under: General, Strategy


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Who Wrote This Article? ...(It was: Chris O'Halloran)

I'm "Chris O". I've managed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects since the inception of my career. I love helping others figure out the intricacies of project management on any scale. Come find me on twitter or google+

Comments That Have Been Left So Far:

  1. David Harris said:

    I’m contacting you because I don’t know where to start. I am a retired engineer. About 10 years ago I had a graph, I think it came from NASA, charting project time and budget over-run vs time spent on generating a project spec. Obviously, the less time spent, the more the over-runs, but this graph showed results for actual projects – about 20 of them as I recall. I’ve contacted NASA but no answer yet. Any ideas on how I may find this info (or similar)?

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