What does all modern knowledge workers have in common? Projects.
The amount of existing research about projects and project management is huge in the academic world. However, even though these studies are useful guidelines, contributing to expanding the knowledge of managers and project managers, sometimes research is far away from real life and daily practice.
Indeed, many studies exist on project failure, detecting and analyzing the causes of failure for projects in organizations. Among the common reasons for failure there are:
• Poor planning
• Poor experience and knowledge of the Project manager
• No monitoring
• Not respecting initial objectives
• Losing control of the team
• Poor communication and collaboration
• Poorly defined requirements
• No risk management plan
• Unrealistic project estimates
What studies do not always address is how to avoid these failures while running a project in the complex context of real business life.
Thanks to Silverside experience with project management, it has been possible to list the seven things project team members and project managers can do to improve the chances of success of your projects.
Firstly, you should define the desired outcomes and results of the project, with strict time planning. Another important task in this phase is to assign the right human and financial resources, together with the necessary tools and rules. Finally, find the right project members and equip them with the right tools.
Decide upfront the methodology you will use on your project. What project phases will the project proceed through? What will be the key go/no-go decision points? What are the expected project outputs for each phase? Think of a structured methodology.
Analyse the key stakeholders and communicate with them throughout the project. Your stakeholders can make or break your project. A proper communication plan is needed to communicate in the best way with all your stakeholders, from team members to sponsors, managers or external stakeholders.
Using the right tools and strategies to collaborate with the project team members and stakeholders is a fundamental task. Too many times the collaboration strategy is underestimated and this impacts negatively on the end results of the project. Office 365 offers many apps to improve project management and collaboration within the teams, like Microsoft Teams and Planner. In this way, you can draw up a project schedule that clearly allocates project tasks to team members and collaborates simultaneously on the same platform and digital workspace in a smarter way.
Get your sponsor and key stakeholders together to track the milestones of your project and your achievements on a regular basis. How will you know if your project has succeeded? What are the key indicators of success? Which tools and norms are you going to is? How to correct the process if needed?
6. Risk management
Unforeseen events are always happening, you cannot think about and foreseen everything. It’s real life, real work and chaos happen. Do not let an unforeseen event sink your project. Find out what risks can threaten your project and build a risk strategy into your project plan. You will face issues and problems only if you have the answers and strategies to overcome them. Don’t forget to keep track of these and communicate their impact and consequences, while adjusting the planning.
7. Learn from mistakes
Use your monitoring reports to evaluate success and failure. Once the project finishes, use these reports to learn for the future, you can always improve your practice. But do not only use statics and diagrams as reports. Ask toy team members and stakeholders how they felt about the project and the collaboration. Was the project a success from their perspective? How did the project impact them personally? From this, you will discover what went well and what did not go so well. Apply these lessons to your next project.
Successful projects do not just happen. They require structured planning, the right tools, insightful management, and good interpersonal skills.
Silverside principle whitepaper running a project explores the state of running team projects today, looks at the research on running team projects and casts our vision for improving this important aspect of organizational life. In this way, we offer guidance to project managers and project teams members. With our research and practical suggestions, running a project will be an easier and more successful task.