Eight Less Obvious Ways to Find Project Success

Eight Less Obvious Ways to Find Project Success

There are many techniques and processes to help you be successful on a project. Some of them, like stakeholder engagement and proactive communication, are pretty well understood. Here are some other ways to increase the likelihood of success on your project that are not so obvious.

  1. Understand both the big picture and the details

    If the devil is in the details, there is nothing more devilish than the complex and intertwining dependencies of a project. You need to be aware of the details, even if you don’t react to each detail each time. At the same time, it’s just as important to see the big picture. understanding the overall purpose and objectives of the project allows you to make decisions based on broader context. The big picture also allows you to see trends before problems emerge.

  2. Make decisions quickly

    Over analyzing and procrastination are the cause of many troubled projects. You need to use the best information you have available to make decisions quickly. Even if it’s not the BEST decision, a GOOD decision suffices in nearly all cases.

  3. Communication proactively and heavily

    You can never have enough communication. Wouldn’t it be great if your worst flaw on a project was that you over-communicated? Usually people complain about not knowing enough. Communicate heavily. Take a chance people will appreciate it.

  4. Manage risks proactively

    This one might fall into the more obvious category. But it is surprising to me how many projects do not formally manage risks. Some projects identify risks but don’t put a plan in place to manage them. Risk management does not take so much time. Do it.

  5. Manage expectations so there are no surprises

    Many project managers communicate, but not effectively. The do not realize how to communicate what is happening now and what is possible happening in the future. If you ever surprised a sponsor or customer, you probably were not managing expectations well.

  6. Make sure you get major documents approved

    Sometimes you think you are just too busy to get approvals for documents even if you know you need them. The result is often that the person tat should have approved the document ends up not approving the results, causing rework and confrontation.

  7. Involve stakeholders throughout the protect

    We should all know it is important to understand project stakeholders. But often we focus on stakeholders at the beginning and the end of the projects. To be really successful you need to engage key stakeholders all the way through the project.

  8. Cultivate good relationships with the Project Sponsor

    Stakeholder management is important, but one stakeholder is more important then the rest – the sponsor. Go out of your way to develop a good relationship with the sponsor. You will need to be comfortable with the sponsor (and vice-versa) as the project progresses.

Use all the obvious techniques for project success, plus these eight that are a little less obvious. You will have a much better chance for success.