It is all too easy to put the focus on the negative instead of the positive. After all, there have been many failed projects and some of them have been spectacular. Chances are you have witnessed a few flops or near misses yourself. As a current or potential project manager where you want to focus your attention is on the successes. What does it take it to make a project successful? Does project management success result from receiving project management training or is it something more? What do successful projects have in common?
Most successful projects share an emphasis on control strategies to avoid problems as well as having a project manager that received project management training. The features that are most commonly shared by productive projects are the following:
A Solid Project Team
Strong Team Leadership
Elasticity within a Secure Project Setting
Meaningful Support from Upper Management A Solid Project Team: When it comes to project completion and project success, there isn’t anything that can replace choosing the right people for the right tasks. For this reason, it is extremely important that a project manager takes their time in identifying who to bring on board their team and why. This is probably the most important control strategy used to avoid problems. Making the wrong decision can result in lost time and costly mistakes. Project management training can help you identify solid team members and avoid weak ones. Strong Team Leadership: No matter how well-laid out and detailed a project plan may be there will inevitably be times when the project will need to veer from the plan. This is where having an effective project manager becomes crucial. At points where the map needs to be redrawn or redirected, the project needs to have someone at the helm that can make reasonable and timely decisions. Leadership is just as important to the success of the team as the team members and that makes effective leadership an essential control strategy to avoid problems. Leader does not mean that the project manager should not solicit additional information and opinions from the team. After all, they are experts in their respective fields and may bring great insights to the problem solving process. Not to mention that good team building means listening and valuing the members of your team. Learning how to balance authority with inclusion is a key skill provided through project management training.
Elasticity within a Secure Project Setting:The project setting should be robust and somewhat fixed, but once it becomes too rigid it stifles creativity. Environments that are completely inflexible are all too often the result of micromanagement that has reduced the morale of the project team. Another danger in the project setting is that it is too unstable with changes coming faster than is reasonable or understandable. Control strategies to avoid problems such as this one should be put into place by the project manager. The bulk of the project effort should be spent on making the original project work not in investing time on “improvements” that drag down the timeline and add little to the value of the finished project. Learning to identify what is an enhancement to your project and what will drag on it is one of the ways that project management training will help ensure project management successes.
Meaningful Support from Upper Management: In the corporate environment, it can be exceedingly easy for senior management to espouse their belief in the project and the project team but without backing it up with real action. A successful project requires that management truly be actively participating in the project and the project decision making process. Their engagement almost ensures that there is adequate funding and resources available. One of the control strategies to avoid problems learned during project management training is to implement a communication plan. Communication plans are a tremendous asset to keeping senior management informed and active in the project. An effective project manager will seek out both approval and input from senior management to guarantee project success.
Again, there are certainly going to be reasons for success that are unique to your project or even to your industry, but it is certainly these four strategies taught as part of project management training from the foundation on which a solid project is built.