I can’t say that I have all the secrets to running projects flawlessly, but after leading more than 100 projects, I have some lessons learned that I would like to share with you.
In my opinion, there are 4 key factors to a successful project. Here they are, in no particular order since they are all equally important.
1. Inter-Departmental Communication
I can’t stress enough how important inter-departmental communication is. And how you communicate matters a lot. Emails are a good, but they’re not your best option, as they can leave ambiguities in readers’ minds and can be misinterpreted. Sometimes phone calls or face-to-face meetings are the best ways to communicate with all parties.
Also, at the beginning of a project, determine how much and how frequently each party wants to be informed. Do they want a project update on a weekly, monthly, per milestone or per task basis? How much detail do they need to know?
2. Objectives Setting and Expectations
Misalignment between the scope of work and project outcome can cause disappointment. Avoid promising customers the impossible and then retracting it in the end. Align expectations and work through issues along the way.
3. Budget Management
Always be transparent about the financial choices made during a project. Nobody wins by “cheating” an estimate to please the customer or hiding a half-truth from them.
4. Due Date Alignment
We’ve all encountered projects where the due date for the launch is somehow set, but the deadlines for the project’s internal phases and requirements are undetermined. If you realize that the launch date is unrealistic, inform the affected parties quickly. You may present the following courses of action:
•Keep the original launch date
o Divide the requirements into 2 or more phases
o Increase the budget to add resources or time
•Propose a new launch date
A project’s success is based on having a high level of mutual respect and professionalism within your team. Keep in mind these four essential elements when starting a new project to set yourself up for a good outcome.