Keeping your sanity in check
Projects are a way of life in business. All companies, no matter their size, have them. But why do the majority of projects go over budget, exceed timelines and have scope creep? Based on my experience as a Project Management Professional (PMP), it’s because the people in charge are not following my top 5 rules for project success. Read on to discover how you too can tame your out-of-control projects with these five simple rules of thumb!
Rule #1 Dedicate an employee. – For larger projects, dedicate an employee to be the project manager on a full-time basis. It’s critical that you have a full-time resource dedicated to managing your project. There are so many details, big and small, that take up time. A full-time manager will be able to dedicate their time and energy to ensuring your project stays on budget, on time and on scope, instead of being distracted, delayed and derailed by daily demands.
Rule #2 – Be prepared. Preparation is a huge factor in the success of your project. It’s similar to painting a room. First, you need to empty the room, prep the walls, and pick the paint, all before you can even start to apply that first coat. It’s the same thing with project management. Having your charter, timeline, action plan, resource matrix, and other critical documents on paper will ensure everything runs smoothly once you execute the plan. A well prepared project is the key to smooth execution.
Rule #3 – Eliminate scope creep. What is scope creep? Scope creep occurs when your manager asks you, in the middle of your project, to add just one small item, promising that it won’t impact anything. The problem with this is that every single time a project leader accepts a scope addition, a reasonable and manageable assignment quickly gets out of hand. A clear scope statement will ensure that everyone knows what the deliverable is, and how to ensure success.
Rule #4 – Foster teamwork. All projects are executed by members of a team, and a team that “gels” and understands each other will be invaluable to the project. A successful project results from the hard work of many, not just that of the project manager. If everyone feels they are empowered and part of a team, they will be more emotionally committed to the project, and will want to do all they can to see the project succeed. People will go the extra mile when they feel included. Test it out today: take your team out to lunch or buy them all a coffee; get to know them and find out what roadblocks they’ve hit, and share this info with the team to find out how everyone can be part of the solution. If you do this, you will see an improvement in your overall project deliverables.
Rule #5 – Complete the project. See the project through to the end. Way too often, I’ve seen projects dismantled as soon as the deliverable was handed over to the business unit. Projects do not end once equipment or services are submitted. You need to build in time to monitor the results, and tweak them to ensure a quality handover and client satisfaction.
These 5 simple rules are the key to project management success. Follow them, and you will see a positive impact on your projects – and ultimately your bottom line – through time, scope and budget monitoring.