Eight Often Overlooked Keys to Project Success

Eight Often Overlooked Keys to Project Success

There are many techniques and processes to help you be successful on a project. Some of them like better estimating and defining requirements are pretty standard and obvious. Here are some other ways to increase the likelihood of success on your project that are not so obvious.

  1. Understand the details – even if you don’t manage at that level

    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.
  2. Make decisions quickly

    Over analyzing and procrastination are a problem on many projects. Use the best information you have available to make decisions quickly. It is often the case that a good, quick decision is better than a perfect decision that takes too long.
  3. Communication a lot – a whole lot

    You can never have enough communication. Wouldn’t it be great if the worst thing someone says about you is that you communicate too much? For every person that says you communicate too much, you probably save five complaints about not communicating enough.  
  4. Identify project risks – and then manage them

    This one might fall into the more obvious category. But it is surprising to me how many projects do not 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. All successful project managers do it.
  5. Manage expectations

    Be sure to communicate what is going on today, as well as what the future looks like. This is all about managing expectations. Your sponsor and stakeholders should never be surprised. The only reason they would be surprised is if you are also surprised. Otherwise it means you did not manage expectations enough. 
  6. Make sure you get major documents approved

    Sometimes we are just too busy to get approvals for documents even if you know you need them. The result is often that there is a disagreement with the approver after the fact, causing rework and conflict.
  7. Involve stakeholders throughout the project

    We 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 continuously through the project.
  8. Cultivate excellent 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.

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.   


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