Managing a project is not a walk for you in the park. You become responsible for its planning, execution, and completion, as well as for ensuring that the tasks performed by different team members contribute to the overall result of the project.
The ability to gracefully cope with pressure and “resolve” conflict situations is also extremely important, but the ten key factors that lead the project to success are listed below:
Set clear goals. If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals, you and your team will lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction but also provides you with a benchmark for determining whether you are succeeding.
Competent project manager. To make sure your project goes in the right direction, you need a competent, sociable leader with the necessary technical and administrative experience.
Support from senior executives. All stakeholders should be aware of and feel about this support. Today’s active CEOs operate very differently from executives in the past. Given the complexities of modern business competition, no single individual — or even the top two or three people — can do all that it takes to achieve success whether it is for a company or a single project.
Success depends on the willingness and ability of the entire senior executive group to address not just their individual functional or divisional responsibilities but also their collective responsibility. Only senior managers can rise above the details of the business, recognize emerging patterns, make unexpected connections, and identify the points of maximum leverage for action.
Hire people carefully. You need only competent members on your team. The success of the project is ensured by a competent and trained group of people. Hiring the right employee enhances your work culture and pays you back a thousand times over in high employee morale, positive, forward-thinking planning, and accomplishing challenging goals. It also ensures that you are making the most of the time and energy that your other employees invest in a relationship with the new employee.
Adequate resource support. Adequate financial, personnel, material, and other resources. Resource allocation is the process of assigning team members and assets to balance the competing needs and priorities of a team. Management then determines the most effective course of action to maximize the effective use of limited resources and gain the best return on investment.
The concept of a Resource Support Team (RST) supports this approach. The RST is a team of production, process, and technical resources that provide leadership to the operating business unit. It functions as an integrated team and focuses on common business unit goals and objectives.
Adequate information support. Availability of information necessary for the implementation of the project on its goals, status, changes, organizational conditions, and customer needs.
Management mechanisms. Mechanisms for managing current events and identifying deviations from the plan. The four functions of management are planning, leading, organizing, and controlling. Companies use various control mechanisms – business plans, needs assessments, budgets, audits, pricing, communications, training, performance reviews, and employee incentives – to optimize performance in each of these areas.
Feedback. All project stakeholders should be able to study the situation and make appropriate proposals and adjustments. Feedback promotes personal and professional growth. Feedback is a vital part of any leader’s skillset. Project managers, team leaders, teachers, and coaches develop this skill throughout their careers. Not just giving feedback, but also receiving it is essential for efficiently sharing information within teams and groups.
Responsiveness to customers. All potential users of the project receive information on the status of the project. Customer responsiveness is critical to business success. From a business’s standpoint, it is the ability not only to perceive but also swiftly respond to the changing needs of customers. Research has proven that an in-depth knowledge of and engagement with customers have now become the most sustainable advantage and competitive edge of any business.
Mechanisms for finding and correcting deviations. A system of measures to find problems and eliminate their causes. It is possible that governance arrangements need to be modified as the project progresses. If there are a lot of projects in the company, it can be challenging for executives to keep track of all deviations, inconsistencies, and issues on these projects. In such a scenario, smart issue monitoring systems, such as PPM Insights might be of great help.
Clearly Define the Boundaries of Your Project
Knowledge of the problem (and in this case, knowledge of the boundaries of the project) is half the success. Therefore, it is necessary by any means to get the most complete and clear understanding of the goals, scope, budget, and methodology of the project used before it begins.
For this, for example, you can hold a series of meetings with all interested parties in the project or request the appropriate documentation. But in any case, you, as a project manager, this information should be up to date throughout the project from start to finish.
For example, take a project to develop a website for a company. It is critically important for you to discuss structure, functionality, presentation format, design approaches, etc. with those responsible for decision-making.
For example, if your project involves creating an application for people with disabilities, it is advisable to assemble a focus group with relevant experience to help with setting boundaries and guidelines.
Carefully Select Project Team Members
Once you have clearly defined how much work will need to be done within the framework of the project, make a list of knowledge and skills requirements for project team members. Carefully approach the selection of specialists who will eventually form your team, selecting exactly those who will best cope with each specific task.
A competent delegation of tasks allows each member of the team to maximize their abilities, which, in turn, creates the conditions for a positive effect of dominoes and increases the likelihood of a successful project.
Set Your Goals to SMART
When a project vision is formed, you can set short-term goals. Each goal must meet the following criteria (SMART criteria system):
- Specific – specific, clearly defined, without common phrases,
- Measurable – measurable,
- Attainable – achievable, real in specific conditions and terms,
- Relevant – meaningful, contributing to the overall project results,
- Timely – limited in time, having a deadline for reaching.
Short-term goals should be compared with those tasks that you entrusted to team members so that everyone understands their role and responsibility. Moreover, the right of team members to evaluate labor costs for the task and set deadlines has become a good practice. But this is possible only when there are understandable, measurable common goals and specific deadlines for the key stages of the entire project.
Returning to the example with the development of an application for children with disabilities: the goal according to SMART criteria can be formulated as follows: “Prepare ten tasks on preschool arithmetic for children with dyslexia by February 1, 2020.”
Use Project Data
Each of your projects generates a tremendous amount of data, but very few companies actually use this data to the maximum. It is important to employ business intelligence solutions, such as Power BI, and track your projects from different angles and on different levels to receive the most complete picture of what is going on with your projects. PPM Express offers a special pre-configured Power BI reports packing for project managers and executives which covers most of the business intelligence needs of modern PMOs.
Track Your Progress Daily
Knowing the completion dates for the project as a whole and the key stages are very important to ensure their implementation on time. Daily receiving information about task status, ensures that all interested parties have information about the progress of the project and what contribution each team member makes to the total result.
The program for tracking tasks will also help you at any time to keep abreast of important dates and deadlines, such as for example, the planned deadline for completing the task and the actual for each short-term goal or phase of the project. It is also recommended that you set up automatic reminders of tasks with approaching deadlines or those where the deadline has already come, and urgent management intervention is required. It is important to monitor not only the progress but also possible errors. If you’re monitoring issues and risks, you’ll be able to address them quickly and complete the project on time.
Create Conditions for Internal Motivation in Your Team
The next important step on the path to a successful project is team motivation, encouraging participants with high results, including those who are underdeveloped. When a team member achieves his goal, be sure to mark it so that each person understands that his contribution is valuable (and appreciated.) This is not only fair but also beneficial, as it contributes to productivity growth. And for a project manager, it’s important to choose the right approach for each member of the team.
Manage Existing Resources Thoughtfully and Efficiently
Identify and, if possible, get at your disposal all the necessary resources before the start of the project.
Project resources include, first of all, the budget, as well as facilities (for the entire duration of the project for teamwork or one-time events, for example, focus groups, conferences, or meetings with attractive experts), tools, and software that will be needed for the project, and, of course, additionally attracted human resources – contractors, consultants, etc.
Reserving resources in advance reduces risks and helps you plan your project budget efficiently.