Do you ever wonder why some projects are more successful than others? Are some project managers just smarter than others? It turns out that there are some common threads among successful projects, and if you build these into your project management system, you're more likely to have a string of winners. We have found that there are 5 aspects on which consistently successful project managers always put their focus:
#1 - Manage Risks Well
Identifying and dealing with project risk is probably the most overlooked, but also the highest leverage, aspect of project management. Risks are those things that can go wrong and damage a project's success. A good risk manager needs a large dose of skepticism. Identifying your real project risks, and then crafting mitigation plans that actually either head off the risk, or deal truly effectively with a risk when it occurs, is really hard work. Constantly review your project risks, and be sure that your risk mitigation plans are going to be truly effective. In successful projects risks are actively identified, managed, and squashed at every opportunity.
#2 - Make Communication a Priority
You can never have enough communication. Make sure that all stakeholders and project team members are constantly updated on project status. Involve as many people as possible in the decision making processes - people will commit to decisions that they've been a part of. Hold team meetings regularly, but keep the meetings focused on getting the work done. Meetings just for the sake of having meetings are not only worthless, they're a demoralizer.
#3 - Keep the Big Picture in Focus
As a project leader or project sponsor, it's part of your job to always keep the big picture in mind. Understanding the overall purpose and the reason for the project will allow you to always make decisions and resolve issues in the context of the most important outcomes that are needed from the project.
#4 - Manage the Details Closely
An old saying is "the devil is in the details." And there are a lot of details in any project, and more so the larger the project. You simply have to stay on top of the details that matter. In my project management career, I always used to say that "nothing is so small that it can't be screwed up." A good project management tool will help you remember the details and how they interrelate, but it can't manage them for you. That's your job!
#5 - Respect Approvals and Change Management
When you're in the middle of a project, it's easy to overlook the reason that approval processes are setup in the first place. Every well-run project has gates and/or types of changes that require approvals and sign-offs. Those approvals are there to ensure consistency in process, and to make sure that all team members and stakeholders are in the know and in agreement. Don't sabotage your own project just because you think getting a required sign-off is merely a formality.
You can increase your project success rate by taking advantage of the experiences and expertise of others who've managed similar projects to successful completion. Strategy1 can help you manage your projects and bring them to successful completion. Give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation.