Monday, April 23, 2012

10 Critical Factors For Successful Projects and Project Managers



  1. They have executive buy-in - No project has a chance of success with buy-in from senior level executives. This is where having a great reputation and relationship comes into play. A well respected project manager will have a better chance of having the project considered than someone who has no reputation or even a bad reputation. If the Vice President sees the value, need, return on the project, then it's a "go"

  2. The end-user is a part of the team - Now, it's common sense to have the users input on a project from which they will benefit but too often they are not consulted. Having a successful project means that the users need to know about it and be represented on the team. If they are kept out of the loop, presented with a solution to a problem they didn't know they had, then proceed to reject it, one of many things will happen, none of them good, up to and including termination.

  3. Experienced project managers are at the helm - Having a project management certification is one piece of the puzzle. Those who have the experience managing projects in addition to managing project within certain industries have a better chance of project success because they understand how to apply book learning into practical actions.

  4. Projects have clear business objectives - Having an idea for a project is great but unless it can benefit the business in a tangible way, it runs the risk of not seeing the light of day. Successful projects have measurable business benefits such as improving productivity, saving money, or increasing profits, just to name a few. Having a clearly beneficial business objective that's quantifiable goes a long way to not only securing the necessary buy-in but to increasing a project manager's reputation.

  5. The scope is kept to a minimum - Two words that can thwart any projects success: scope creep. Having a clear well understood scope but when stakeholders start to push their wish list to the forefront, a good project manager who wants a successful project has the mechanisms in place to make sure the scope, time and cost are kept to a minimum.

  6. Uniform software infrastructure for communication- It is not unusual for project teams to be in different locations. That's why it's so important to have a standard software infrastructure in place if you want to have a successful project. It helps if all team members are able to view, upload, edit, create files on the same platform so that time is spent more on project work than on figuring out and converting documents.

  7. Reliable estimates - Apart from understanding the scope, to make a project successful project managers need to understand what is needed. Human, equipment and material resources, all play a part in the project budget so the estimates need to be as precise as possible to eliminate nasty surprises.

  8. They have competent Subject Matter Experts(SMEs) - It is said that if the project manager is the smartest person on the team, that's a definite sign of failure. No project manager is an expert on everything so s/he needs to find the right people who know and can do if the project is to be a success. Milestones

  9. Project managers take ownership - it's easy for managers in a position of authority to pass the blame for the slightest failure on their staff members. When it comes to the most successful projects and project managers, they go by the motto "The buck stops here."

  10. Communication is one of the top priorities - One of the biggest reasons for project failure is lack of communication. Stakeholders need to be kept on top of the project even if there are minor changes. Successful project managers know this and make the effort to keep all stakeholders in the loop especially senior management.

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