Successful project management

There are four key factors that will make a difference for the future:

1. Ensure Projects are Aligned

junctionA major reason for project failure is that most organizations do not ensure that all projects they implement align with their organization’s core strategies. If organizations were to implement only those projects that were in alignment with their strategic goals, their success rate would increase dramatically because executive sponsorship would not be an issue.

However, reality shows that the majority of projects on the go are not associated with corporate and/or departmental strategic plans. Therefore it
is not surprising that a crisis is around the corner because senior executives are not convinced the project realizes the strategic intent.

2. Make sure Project Management is a Profession

Most organizations set-up a Project Management Office. The expectations are:

  • more successful implementation of projects;
  • predictable, reusable project management tools, techniques and processes;
  • increased professionalism in project management.

If a project is strategically aligned and project management is built into the corporate culture then everyone who works on a project will immediately know what their part is in making the project successful. Project Management will be embedded into the everyday practice. Much as quality management has evolved over the past 20 years to become a competency requirement for all jobs, project management is following the same route.

3. Implement Project Management Best Practices

Project Management Offices should be focused on a few strategic objectives:

  • gathering lessons learned;
  • creating measurement systems that support decision making;
  • showing key resource dependencies.

4. Create a Project Measurement System

In general projects are measured on their success to keep their word. In effect the planned time, budget and scope that has been agreed must be kept. This is however not the way to measure success. What should be measured is the business contribution or value contribution of the project.

It is admittedly a lot harder to measure business contribution of a project, but is it a sure way to avoid having discussions about small overruns or acceptable scope creep.