How to Prevent Projects From Failing
Learn the top 4 tips for preventing your projects from failing…
Hi, I’m Devin Deen, Content Director here at Projectmanager.com. Today I’ve got four tips to keep your project from failing. The first one is to make sure you use the right approach. I’m a keen surfer and I always make sure when I go out on the water that I have the right board for the conditions. I’m not bringing a long board into a barreling wave and I’m not bringing a short board into a nice, gentle roller. You, as a project manager, have to make sure you use the right approach.
If you’re building the Eiffel Tower, make sure you’ve got a methodology and an approach that will help you build the Eiffel Tower to the right specifications that you’re looking for. If you’re building a computer game, make sure you’ve got a good project method to deliver that computer game. Different projects require different methods and different approaches and it’s really important that you start off that project using the right approach.
Next, make sure you get the best team you can afford. I can’t stress that enough. Your career, your stake holder’s career, the whole project is going to depend upon the project team that you’re able to assemble. Make sure you get the very best people that project team can afford. It will often mean the difference between a 20-0 victory to an 8-7 victory.
Next, make sure you plan to fail. Now I’m really, really going to stress the importance of this one. When you start your project one of the first things you can do in the project initiation task is set up your risk register. That risk register is often a section or often a document that people prefer not to go into or not to extend beyond a few different risk items. I tell you, it’s probably one of the most important project artifacts out of project initiations because it helps expose to you and your project team where the might fail.
All project teams start in a very optimistic manner. Hey, we can take on the world. We can shoot a man, take him on the moon. There’s no way we can fail. It’s always the doom and gloom merchant who has to go out there and do the risk register. I tell you what, everyone tries to avoid us. Don’t avoid it. Make sure you put the right amount of time into getting this risk register as filled out as possible.
When you do this you’ll find that it will have an impact on the project’s schedule that you’ve already put together as a baseline, maybe some of the tasks. It’s really important that you expose the areas that are going to make the projects go off the rails. Then once you get that under way you can manage and monitor that risk register.
Lastly, get everyone on the same page. That’s really easy to do on the start. There’s lots of tasks or artifacts within project initiation that can help you do that. You’ve got statements of work, terms of reference, project charters. You’ve got team building activities. You bring everyone together, everyone’s happy, they know where they’re going. Once a project starts everyone tends to go off in all different directions and they kind of forget where they’re going. It’s important for you as a project manager that you keep everybody’s eye on the prize.
There’s many different ways you can do that. Whilst the project is under way, you’ve got requirements that have to be delivered. You can do a requirements session. Bring in the stake holders, bring in the end users, get your project team together. Make sure everyone is in agreement whilst they’re going through the project artifacts to keep on track and everyone’s got the same expectations.
A little bit later down the way you’ve got the design document that’s due. Bring them all back together again where they can reaffirm themselves with what it is they’re doing.
Another opportunity to do that is when you bring the users in and train them, getting them familiar with your system before they do their testing. Once again that’s a good mechanism that is built within your project plan to bring those users in, bring the stake holders in again, and make sure they’ve all got the right expectations with what you’re going to deliver.
Like I said before, at the start of a project there’s really good artifacts and ways to get people on the same page but you as a project manager it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re all singing from the same hymn sheet throughout the rest of the project. There’s lots of ways you can build that into your project schedule.
I guarantee if you take these four tips and bring them into the way that you manage and run your projects, you’ll definitely prevent them from failing. For more white board sessions and all your project manager needs come see us at Projectmanager.com.