I have always believed projects can be as easy or hard as your organisation wants them to be. Projects are a great mirror of the environment in which they are delivered in. If you have the right working conditions in your company your projects will flourish and be delivered on time. If not, well you know the rest. Here are five tips to help you increase your project success rate:
1. No pets allowed
Are the only projects that get delivered in your organisation the baby of your CEO? Does your organisation sway from side to side to deliver pet projects? Executives often indiscriminately initiate projects as a means of delivering the results that are expected of them. This can be regardless of resource constraints. If this is the case in your organisation you need to implement a prioritisation model that is based on pulling rather than pushing. If strict criteria are met, the project is agreed and funding allocated. Don’t allow a ‘loudest dog barking’ mentality to creep into your project decisions.
2. Be honest with yourself
Don’t jump head first into a new initiative until you’re comfortable you have the right talent available. If you need a process, implement a Talent Maturity evaluation during the business case stage. Assess the skill level and experience of the resources available. If your evaluation doesn’t pass certain thresholds, don’t start. Also avoid starting all your projects at a similar time. Stagger your projects if you need too and manage your timelines across the board. This will prevent your best talent from being diluted by the flood of concurrent changes.
3. Focus your talents
Whilst most businesses carefully manage their allocation of financial resources, few implement the same rigour regarding the allocation of their employees. New projects are often initiated without any assessment of the organisations capacity to deliver them. As a result, executives are often baffled by the high number of delayed projects. The key to avoiding this is to focus your best talent. Whilst the temptation will be to stretch your best talent across multiple projects, do the opposite. Allow your best talent to focus all their attention on one initiative at a time.
4. Act like John West
The famous John West saying isn’t used for nothing. It’s true. Your company needs to be extremely selective when deciding which new initiatives to proceed with. When too many projects are run simultaneously there is only ever going to be one outcome - delays. Imagine your entire company was tasked with only delivering one project. All the best talent and support would be available. There would be no dependencies or prioritisation calls. The odds of delivering this one project on time would be very high. Work back from that and ensure you have the right project mix to suit your priorities and resource profile.
5. Just do it…
Some projects require dedicated resources. Some can use shared pools. Don’t make your projects fit the constraints of your organisational hierarchy or politics. Just do what needs to be done to deliver it. Put as many dedicated resources on your priority projects as possible. Allow the project team to live, breath and eat the initiative. They will work harder on it, and it also allows for more accurate estimation throughout the delivery lifecycle. Reduce the need for your teams to multi-task and prioritise. Let them focus on the task at hand so that you can watch delivery times reduce.