Last 15 years of my career include management of multiple projects from A-Z including but not limited to: recruitment, communication management, negotiations, conflict management, risk management, budgeting, execution, and C-level executive management.
Throughout discussions with senior project managers, and project management officers, I received additional inputs to help you understand how to manage better projects. I am also the author of the e-book “project management success”; it is available on amazon (kindle) for download. -> TO AMAZON
Why are projects failing to deliver with success?
Projects can fail when there is a mismatch between sales management, and, project managements’ ambitions and goals. Sellers promise unrealistic deliveries to get the deal, and the sales bonuses being one example. Projects can also fail when there is a wrong project management aptitude of candidates who got promoted as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ for serving in the firm for a very long time. Very often, I also got to understand that communication is a key issue, besides critical leadership dimensions (EQ, IQ, MQ). Important people were not informed timely, or, decisions were made while excluding key stakeholders. Unrealistic promises are very common, which sets expectations on different levels, hence, leading to project failure. Many more reasons can be added to why projects fail to deliver and above factors are just touching the surface, but they are still seen as very common causes for project failure.
What is project success?
Project success according to researchers, PMO:s, and senior project managers can be achieved when employees, suppliers, and the buyer are satisfied with the outcome. The outcome may have changed in regards to what was agreed initially, but as long as the buying customer gets what he/she wants, a project can be seen to be heading in the direction for success.
A commonly held view is that, when time, cost, quality and the scope are meeting the criteria of the buying customer, the project should be seen as a success. But if employees or suppliers are unhappy with the way a project was managed, they may be less willing to cooperate in upcoming projects. Therefore, we need satisfied employees and suppliers to fully ensure project success and corporate long-term profitability.
How do you ensure project success?
This is a broad question, because projects of different sizes, complexity and industries have different preconditions and requirements: way of working, tools and techniques and project management methodologies. Lets’ assume you are about to start a project in a K12 international school with 250 students and 30 staff members; the goal is to investigate why students are leaving, and why Principals are exchanged every year, and how to get the school back on track with an annual student growth of 10%. The timeline for planning and executing this project is 12 months, and the results are expected to be realized within 24 months which include: a written report of recommendations and an implementation plan and how to measure the results. Deliverable would also include the execution of the project with handover and project closure.
How would you deliver this project with success? What actions would you take?
- Initiate and agree a business case with the dean of the school (and if required, the founder(s)). The business case covers deliverables, risks, costs, benefits, dis-benefits, expected outcome, and a background description with reason for the project. PRINCE2 project management methodology is suggested to be used in this case. I would also consider using elements of the American PMI when planning and monitoring this project.
- Agree what is seen as “success” and how to measure success. Are top leaders willing to make changes even though this would require replacing close friends?
- Plan and agree a work break down structure with activities, estimated costs and timelines for completion in a GANTT chart. Activities included: surveys and interviews with parents, students and staff members, and the creation of the interview questions. A market research would also be included and investigations of actual school plans, procedures and education strategy.
- If lessons learned are available from previous similar projects, read them carefully.
- Create and agree a communication plan: how do we communicate, to who, and when? What communication media / tools would be used for different receivers?
- Create and agree a risk management plan. Include mitigation and contingency plans. Brainstorm with key stakeholders to get ideas of possible risks.
- Create and agree a human resource management plan. What if key staff quit or ask for holiday? Do we need to hire? What media shall be used? Budget? How do we handle conflicts within the team? Who is making HR decisions?
- Find resources needed to deliver the project according to project scope.
- Make sure people in place know what to do, how to do it, and that they understand the project plan and agree with the scope.
- Execute the project plan and monitor progress with agile morning meetings, and weekly status reporting (or bi-weekly). Deliverables in the WBS needs to be available for key stakeholders and agreed in milestones and tollgates to ensure that the project is heading in the right direction. Changes need to be managed according to a change management plan.
- Hand over and closure. Write lessons learned, and ensure handover of deliveries to the client.
Above brief actions points would increase the likelihood of achieving project success. But it is also about how you deal with people, how you communicate with various stakeholders, and how you go on finding information to solve a need or a problem; this determine whether you will deliver a project with success.
I hope I gave you interesting experiences and ideas about how to deliver a project with success in the the context of an international school. Contact me today for a free of charge education and project management consultation, or, to obtain training in business and English by senior professionals. We currently operate in south east Asia.
By Anthony Eric
Anthony Eric brings a wealth of knowledge in international business and he has gained 14 years experiences of how to communicate effectively, how to plan and evaluate operations for low risk and faster decision making. Anthony has been trained by international institutes in the USA, the UK, Ireland and Sweden and he provides business training and communication training for clients in business, and for clients who aim at succeeding in business. His expertise covers leadership, management communication, business planning and sales management. He currently holds an MBA (England) and BSc Engineering (Sweden) and he has gained 21st century skills and knowledge at global leading institutions such as: The British government, Deloitte, IBM, TietoEnator, Ericsson, Consulting firm Semcon, The Open University, King’s College London, Manchester Business School, The University of Birmingham, Royal Institute of Technology KTH and Harvard University in alliance with IBM Leadership Academy. Anthony is the author of the e-book project management success, available on amazon.com.
Copyright (C) 2018. Anthony Eric by Antonios Papadimitriou. All Rights Reserved.