In this post, I outline the key elements of any successful project. By taking the time to understand these steps and put them into action, you can increase the chances of your project being successful:
1. Define the goal of your project
The goal of a project is to achieve a specific objective within a specified period of time. A project charter is a document that outlines the project's goals, objectives and timeline. It is an important tool for project management, as it provides a shared understanding of the project's goals and objectives.
The project charter also helps to identify and track milestones, risks and costs. Without a clear goal, a project can quickly become derailed. Therefore, it is essential to define the goal of your project before beginning any work.
2. Gather information and research what has been done before
Before embarking on any project, it is essential to gather information and research what has been done before. This will help you identify stakeholders, collect requirements and identify potential risks.
It is also important to understand the current state of the project in order to develop an effective plan for execution. Without this information, it would be difficult to identify the problems that need to be addressed and the potential solutions that could be implemented.
By taking the time to research and gather information, you can ensure that your project is well-informed and has a higher chance of success.
3. Develop a plan and timeline for your project
A project plan is a critical component of any project. It sets forth the tasks that need to be completed, the order in which they should be done, the budget for the project, and the timeline for completion. Without a project plan, it is all too easy for a project to get off track and end up being delayed or over budget.
Creating a project plan can seem like a daunting task, but there are a few key steps that can make the process much easier:
Once all of these pieces are in place, you will have a much clearer picture of what needs to be done—and when it needs to be done. With a well-developed project plan, you increase the chances of your project being successful.
4. Create a budget and find funding as necessary
Any worthwhile project will require some level of funding, and it is important to estimate the cost of the project as accurately as possible before beginning to look for sponsors.
In addition to the cost of materials, it is also important to estimate the duration of the project and schedule it accordingly. Once the cost and duration have been estimated, it is easier to create a budget and begin looking for funding.
Although it can be difficult to find sponsors, there are a number of resources available to help with the search. Project management software can also be helpful in keeping track of expenses and ensuring that the project stays on schedule and within budget.
By taking the time to estimate costs and create a budget, it is easier to find the funding necessary to complete a project successfully.
5. Assemble a team of experts to help
Any successful project depends on assembling the right team of experts. But what makes a team effective? One key principle is understanding the stages of team development, first identified by psychologist Bruce Tuckman.
Tuckman proposed that teams go through four distinct stages:
Effective team leaders recognize these stages and know how to manage them effectively. They also possess other key qualities, such as servant leadership and strong communication skills. By assembling a team of experts with these qualities, you can set your project up for success.
6. Implement the plan and monitor progress along the way
A key part of successful project management is monitoring progress and making adjustments as necessary to ensure that the project stays on track. There are many different tools and techniques that can be used for this purpose, but earned value management is one of the most popular and effective methods.
Earned value management is a technique that uses three measures—planned value, earned value and actual cost—to track progress and identify variances. By comparing the earned value to the planned value, project managers can track whether the project is ahead or behind schedule. Similarly, by comparing earned value to actual cost, they can identify any cost overruns.
Thus, earned value management provides a clear picture of where the project stands at any given point in time and makes it easy to identify areas that need attention. As such, it is an essential tool for any project manager who wants to monitor and control the progress of their project. PRINCE2 and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) are two other popular progress monitoring tools.
7. Get the final acceptance, then celebrate and close the project successfully
These are the three keys to ending your project on a high note and setting yourself up for success the next time around. Of course, the best way to avoid having an underperforming project in the first place is to learn proper project management techniques and adopt best practices from the outset. But even if you find yourself in a difficult situation, all is not lost. By following these tips, you can ensure that your next project is a resounding success.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions about how to implement these processes or would like help assembling a team of experts for your next project…and share your own tips in the comments below!
By Ramiro Rodrigues
I have heard arguments both for and against the effectiveness of corporations using standardized project management methodologies.
In general, a project management methodology should clarify which methods — steps, activities, gadgets and tools — can be used to reach a goal. And since a project is made up of a set of processes, each with their suggested methods or best practices, they are usually given the name of methodology.
The Arguments For
The fervent proponents of project management methodologies contend that there is a need for the implementing organization to establish an identity, which its clients will see. They believe that the methodology enhances the standardization of the particular strengths of the services offered.
According to them, a project originating from a corporation with a specific work methodology tends to have more predictable services and products, which decreases the interference of human factors associated with the individuals who lead the project. It also allows for greater clarity and understanding for the stakeholders with regard to what is to be expected at each moment.
Finally, they maintain, that a methodology enables a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement and development with regard to project management in an organization.
The Arguments Against
Opponents assert that methodologies often require disproportionate documentation efforts that do not add value. For them, methodologies are bureaucratic "machines" that increase their costs and stress levels, thus taking the focus away from the expected results.
There is no single solution to this issue. It is common knowledge that each organization must develop its own project management methodology in order to find the best set of methods.
Therefore, it is suggested that organizations wishing to improve should always consider whether the proposed methodology:
This latter issue, together with the need for resource optimization and a drop in the learning curve, has led corporations to search for alternatives — such as agile methods and using Canvas in project management.
However, this objectivity "line" should not be stretched too far. There’s a risk that while searching for leaner processes some aspects related to the optimal handling of a project may become too superficial. That could ultimately compromise the quality of project deliveries and the image of the implementing organization.
Therefore, there is no one perfect solution. Each market segment, project size and organizational culture should be carefully considered in order to find the best way to implement a project management methodology.