7 Tips For Project Management Success

Monday, February 23, 2015

Want to avoid costly project management mistakes that cause delays and could potentially totally derail your project? The Standish Group reports that roughly two out of three IT projects are considered to be failures suffering from total failure, cost overruns, time overruns, or a rollout with fewer features or functions than promised. Make sure yours aren’t by following these 7 tips.

There’s no doubt that the size and complexity of IT projects is increasing and putting extra pressure on your department as well as making your life difficult. Good project management is a must if you want to ensure that your projects are successful and delivered on time and on budget. These simple but logical tips will help you.

Tip 1 : Appoint the right Project Manager

Managing a project is a difficult job and becomes even more difficult if the project manager lacks experience or doesn’t have the right skill set. The person you choose has to know how to facilitate meetings, chair status meetings, develop a project plan and manage risks and issues. In addition, they need to know how to deal with stakeholders -the business people who are looking for functionality, the IT people who care about security and the financial people who are worried about the budget.

Tip 2 :  Choose the most appropriate team

Unfortunately, many companies choose team members simply because they’re available and thus put their project at risk. What they should be doing is choosing people based on the skills and experience needed to make the project successful. Make sure you build a team based on skill set and experience - get the right people with the right skills. It’s even worth considering paying a premium for a small team of highly proficient and experienced people.

Tip 3 : Get the project started on the right foot

A project kick-off meeting is really important to get your project started on the right foot and could be the most important time you'll spend on the project. The goal of this meeting is to ensure that everyone on the team is clear about the project goal, aims and objectives. As well, all team members need to understand their individual roles, responsibilities, key project milestones and deadline dates. Finally, they need the opportunity to ask questions if they are unsure about any aspect of their roles on the project or what the project is in the business to deliver.

Tip 4 : Speak to all stakeholders

Start the project by speaking to all stakeholders to understand their requirements. You need to do this before you can propose which technical solution is the most appropriate. Of course this is reliant on stakeholders giving you the time and explaining exactly what their requirements are. Once you understand their needs write a statement of requirements and get all stakeholders to sign it. It’s also a good idea to keep in contact with the stakeholders for the duration of the project.

Tip 5 : Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication is the key to a successful project – both through written reports and meetings. Keep everyone on the project informed of decisions, exceptions, changes, project status, risks, issues and developments. You can never over communicate! Communications should be regular and consistent. It’s a great idea to pick a day and time to meet each week (either virtually or in person) and stick to it.

Tip 6 : Define the scope of your project

This needs to be done from the outset and monitored regularly to make sure you and your team are keeping within the scope. Ensure that the scope is clearly defined and documented. Make sure the stakeholders understand it and sign off on it. Stick closely to the scope and, if changes are required, put them through a change management process where they are documented, justified and then agreed.

Tip 7 : Trust your team

If you’ve chosen the right people with the right skills then you should be able to trust them to do their job properly and not micromanage everything yourself – which is a great waste of time and extremely annoying for the people involved. Your team members believe they are in the team for the skills and expertise they bring to the project and want to feel responsible, valued and empowered. Micro managing these people will destroy trust and potentially lead to a lack of confidence and motivation.

The Standish Group found that the three major reasons leading to a successful project are user involvement, executive management support and a clear statement of requirements. Follow the 7 tips above and your project success rate will increase and you’ll improve satisfaction among stakeholders. Overall, the business will benefit from systems that make them more competitive and get delivered on time and on budget.


If you’d like some help with a current or future project please call us on 1 300 780 730