A successful project is one that is delivered on time, within budget and to scope. To ensure the success of a project, there are some key things which must be taken into account throughout the project life cycle so that all stakeholder expectations are aligned and the project can remain on track.
A clearly defined scope and ensuring that the timeframes are realistic at the start of a project are the first steps towards the success of a project. By not making too many assumptions, and including the ones which are made in the statement of work, alongside the items deemed out of scope it is much easier to track what is in and out of scope and then address any variances through change control.
Utilising the right resources at the right points throughout the project to achieve maximum efficiency is vital. By using planning tools – such as Microsoft Project – to list the deliverables with dates to track against, identify dependencies and assign task owners, it is easy to make sure that this is the case.
Constantly revisiting the scope to ensure the project is tracking towards its’ original goal, as well as effectively communicating the risks and issues of the project to the key stakeholder’s and project team members is important to ensure the project is a success. By involving the key stakeholder’s in the process from the outset, getting in buy-in when needed later down the track is usually not as difficult.
Project failure can often be attributed to the following – poorly defined deliverables and scope; lack of organisational buy-in; poor resource allocation; project not being fit for purpose; and no control of risk. By being aware of these factors at the start of the project, specific measurable outcomes can be developed to ensure there is accountability and the project remains on track.
Beginning a project with the end in mind is always a useful thing to remember, as the whole idea behind a project is that it has a clearly defined start, end and milestones along the way to measure success against.