Management / How do you ensure a project succeeds?
How do you ensure a project succeeds?
13 April 2014 |
All projects result in a change that affects someone. Project success is often measured by how much has been done or the number of changes implemented. Managing the impact of change on people has a profound effect on project success: accelerating adoption and minimising productivity and efficiency losses. Change management must define and support the journey employees go through during the life-cycle of the project. Change management must work on the rational level (by providing information), emotional level (by building trust), and on the political level (through sponsorship and role modelling). Activities and communications must also ensure momentum is being actively managed. A change management skillset and focus on the application of changes requires managing the inevitable tension between the differing needs of the project and the business. To find out if you have the right skills and knowledge take a look at the CMI’s Change Manager Competency Model and the recently published Change Management Body of Knowledge.
Mouchel Infrastructure Services
Effective and professional project, programme and portfolio management is crucial to our ability to deliver commercially sound and sustainable business performance. It is at the very heart of being able to consistently satisfy our clients by delivering projects and services on time, to quality and within budget. Any substantial project is delivered in a dynamic environment with input and expertise from a broad set of people and disciplines; it is the ability to project manage all these variables that ensures successful overall delivery. Looking ahead, the need for ever-closer collaboration with clients and other members of the supply chain will place an even greater emphasis on having the right people and the right skills in place. To be ready for those challenges and support growth in our business, Mouchel has developed a framework for career progression based on experience and recognised professional qualifications, and is investing in the continuous development of our PM community, as well as recruiting suitably experienced people.
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There is often a danger that once somebody has a project management qualification they believe they know how to manage a project, rather than using it as a toolkit to refer to. Much like learning to drive a car, only once you have passed the test do you really start to learn. One thing I learned early on was the importance of managing stakeholders. An agreed approach to managing them needs to be determined, considering details such as how significantly they will be impacted by the project, whether they are a supporter or potential blocker, and exactly how they are going to be communicated with throughout the project lifecycle. However, the key to success is remembering that stakeholders don’t like surprises. Therefore, being open and honest with them throughout is essential, even if this may lead to some difficult conversations. Communicate with them regularly, concisely and openly and you should have a recipe for a successful project.
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Project Manager Today
Ask the right questions from the outset of the project. No amount of good work will rescue a project with an illogical business case. Create a culture of open, transparent collaboration. Fist-banging and secrecy will only result in difficult news being hidden, and that can lead to costly consequences. Cascade the importance of project success from the top. If your board, CEOs and project sponsors understand why good projects matter then that message will become an inherent part of your organisational approach. Appreciate and nurture your people. It’s incredible how many project managers are out there struggling to get the job done without support, training or professional development. But a good project manager is worth their weight in gold and certainly worth investing time and budget in. And, above all, listen: it’s the people at the front end of your project who can give you the intelligence you need to make successful decisions. Let them do what they do well.
I am still an advocate of getting the basics right: focus on delivering on agreed time, within an agreed budget, and above all, ensuring what is delivered is fit for purpose. These basic achievements still sound pretty good to me, and every time are worth a prize and some praise to everyone involved. Obviously each project and each sector is different on how to balance and achieve these basics. Understanding the requirements and their priorities in detail will certainly increase the chances of success. Once the scope is known, the monitoring and managing of a project becomes much more focused and interesting. From a personal point of view, at the end of a successful project I expect to be saying “… and none of this would have been possible without an integrated and collaborative team, a committed and satisfied client and an appreciative and enthusiastic end user”. And that combination does not happen by accident. Good luck.
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