How to make a project successful - Are you a successful project manager?

How to make a project successful - Are you a successful project manager?
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Pradip, PMP

Last updated August 14, 2012


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Everyone knows that successful projects cannot happen by chance. You need to plan and organize projects for the success. Now the big questions are how? Let me tell you there are some basic things that you need to consider positively to make your project successful. Let me explain those one by one:

Measuring the project achievability and benefits

It is utmost important to measure the achievability and benefits when you select projects to achieve your business needs/goals. In project management, it is called as the project feasibility study. Whether you should do this project? Whether you can do this project? Here you can use the basic concept of Net Present Value (NPV), Cost-benefit ratio, Payback period analysis, Internal rate of return and Return on Investment to see whether you should go for this project or not.

As a project manager you must analyze - whether you have the sufficient resources available or not, whether you are financially sound to perform this project or not. These things need to be clarified at the earliest to take a decision – whether you can do this project or not.

Business needs

I do believe that no projects should start without a real business or organizational needs. Higher management launch projects when they see the true opportunities the organization will be getting through it. A good way to identify problems or opportunities is through measuring the gaps between your organization’s goals and your current status. If you see there are significant gaps between these measurements, there is a good reason to launch projects to close those gaps.

Identify the stakeholders and involve them at the earliest

Remember stakeholders are those who are actively involved in the project and whose interests can be positively or negatively impact the project success. You should identify all your project stakeholders and classify them according to their influence and interest to the project. After identifying you should involve them as early as possible starting from gathering the project information to project planning. This is the key to project success really.

Bring a skill-set people in a place for project execution

Now you have to run the project execution and for this you need a full committed skilled team to perform on your project. Without this you can’t accomplish the project target really. Try to acquire a good solid team full of skill set who will ultimately work on your project. Involving the project team in planning, creating WBS can also work positively for your project.

Proper project planning

A big task really – Project planning. You need to do it properly as the planning will be the basis for your project success. Involve your stakeholders, involve your project team – they can provide valuable inputs for the project success. Create WBS neatly, don’t try to include the work which is out of scope, and involve your core project team in creating the WBS, in estimating the activity durations … they can give nearly accurate calculations as they will work on the activity.

Work like true communicator, negotiator, a true leader here…try to cover almost all the information in hand in the planning, make a proper plan how you will maintain the change in your project. Plan effectively. As the work will progress you will notice new changes and hence your planning will be updated as it is iterative in nature.

Managing stakeholders’ expectation

As a project manager you must engage and mange the project stakeholders in your project. The needs and expectations of project stakeholders must be proactively identified and their issues and concerns must be addressed promptly for accomplishing the project goal positively.

Effective use of issue log

It is very obvious in managing projects to list key project issues in an issue log. You know there will be an issue definitely while executing the work. You must need to document those issues in a log and further you must need to adhere on it for the effective implementation.

Managing and balancing the changes effectively

Changes are inevitable in the projects. It can be from the customer, project sponsor, stakeholders, project team etc., and you need to understand the implications of these changes on your project. Whether the change can be acceptable by balancing the project six constraints (Scope, Quality, Cost, Time, Resource, and Risk) if not, you should put a request to CCB (Change Control Board) and after their approval you should implement those in the projects. Note that through this change, the baselines can be updated and in result you need to work on the new baselines.

About the Author

Pradip Dwevedi, PMP is currently the Lead PMP Trainer / Corporate Trainer at Reputed Global R.E.P.s, India and also the Head – Project Management at Invida Trans IT Solutions PVT LTD. Prior to this, he was Divisional Manager at Stylo Graphic Imaging and before this he was working as Facilitator/Team Leader at Aptara.


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