Do You Know The 3 Drivers Of Project Success?

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by Dave Wakeman

I recently came across some of management guru Peter Drucker’s thoughts on project management. 

As often happens with Drucker’s writing, the lessons he wrote about many years ago are still applicable today. 

In his thinking about project management, Drucker came up with the idea that it really came down to three ideas: objectives, measurements and results. 

Let’s take each of these areas and think about how we should approach them today. 

Objectives: Many projects get stuck before they even begin, due to a poor framing of the project’s objectives. We should be undertaking our projects only when we have moved through the project-planning phase to such an extent that we have a strong grasp of what we are hoping to achieve. 

These objectives shouldn’t be fuzzy or wishy-washy. They should be solid and rooted in the overall strategy of the organization you are performing the project for. 

This means you have to ask the question: “Does this project move us toward our goals?”

If the answer is “yes,” it’s likely a project that should be launched.

If the answer is “no,” it’s likely a project that needs to be fleshed out more, rethought or not undertaken at all.          

Measurements: Drucker is famous for this adage: What gets measured gets managed. 

In thinking about project management, measurements aren’t just about being able to improve project delivery. They’re also essential to ensure the project is headed in the right direction. 

To effectively measure our projects, we need to have laid out key measurements alongside the project’s objectives. 

The measurements should be specific, with expected outputs and completion dates, so you can affirm whether you are on schedule, behind schedule or ahead of schedule. 

At the same time, the measurements should inform you of your progress as it compares to your strategic goals. 

Results: Ultimately, projects are about results. 

To paraphrase another great thinker, Nick Saban: If you focus on doing your job right on each play, you’ll put yourself in a position to be successful at achieving your goals.

Saban coaches U.S. football, but this works just as well for all of us in project management. 

If we are focusing our energy on tying our projects to our organization’s strategy, through this strategy we focus our project efforts on the correct objectives in line with our strategy. Then we use those objectives to measure our progress against the strategy. We should be putting ourselves in a position to get the results that we need from our projects. 

These results should be measured as positive outcomes. In Saban’s case, that’s wins. In your case, it might be a new technology solution, a successful new ad campaign or a profitable fundraising effort. 

To me, reviewing Drucker’s thoughts on project management is a reminder: Even though there is a constant pull of new technologies, never-ending demands on our attention and a world where change feels accelerated, sometimes the best course of action is to step back, slow down and get back to the basics.

 

Posted by David Wakeman on: January 18, 2019 10:02 AM | Permalink

Comments (13)

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Dave,

Thanks for the reminder here. This is one of my favorite sayings "What gets measured gets done." Our team is reading the "Measure what Matters" by John Doerr. We'll see how much better we do as an organization!

Agreed. If you don't measure success, you cannot prove anything.

Great! Thanks for remindering! Love your quote "What gets measured gets managed"

Dave, Good one!!!
Thanks for sharing

Peter Drucker's books are great, a lot of insight.

Agreed with these 3 Drivers and their Importance, focus around these will definitely make a great project team.

I feel the biggest driver for Project success is Executive sponsors, you ought to have the blessing and adequate sponsor support to make sure you complete the project successfully.

You bring some very good points of utmost value ... Thanks for this great post David.

Nicely explained.
Thanks for sharing!!

I think we should use performance measurement periodically to maintain project success

Very informative Points thanks for sharing !

This aligns so well with what I call the “3Ms for success” (Monitor – Measure – Manage) What's get “monitor”, that will get “measure”, and what gets measured, will get “manage”! It’s not that complicated; Oh just remember 3Ms as you manage your project! 😊

Very well summarized.
Thanks for reminding.

- be the change you want to see in world -

good points! Thank you for sharing.

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