Project management might seem simpler to many but in reality, things are quite different. Project management exposes project managers to different types of issues and overcoming all those issues is critical for success. According to a survey conducted by IBM, only 40% projects are completed before the deadline or inside the allocated budget. A detailed study conducted by Standish Group also paints a dark picture about project success rates. This is an alarming situation for project managers and businesses alike. The most important question is that how project managers can increase the project’s success rate. Successful project managers, from different industries, share their secrets to help project managers succeed in completing the project on time and within the budget.
1. Go in With An Effective Plan
Although, there are many reasons why a project fails but one of them is poor planning. Many organizations cut down on project planning time, just to complete the project on time. Instead, they end up consuming more time and their project fails to meet the deadline.
If you have a solid plan at your disposal, executing different phases of your project will no longer be an issue. Furthermore, the chances of project failure decrease substantially with a well thought out plan. Brian Tracy highlighted the importance of planning by saying, “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent Return on Energy!”
2. Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic goals from the outset will also put less pressure on your team members and allow them to be more productive at the same time. Make sure that each team member is clear about the goals and what is expected of them. This will go a long way in helping you achieve your project objectives.Probably the most obvious reason of project failure is setting unrealistic expectations, deadlines, and budgets.
Instead of setting very tight deadlines and allocating inadequate budget, it is recommended that you keep a buffer when it comes to time and funds. This will give you and your team members some breathing space and you’ll be in a better position to deliver the project as per the management’s expectations.
3. Delegate Responsibility Carefully
Once you have set a goal and made a plan, it is time to delegate responsibilities among your team members. Giving the right task to the right person is crucial to your project’s success. Few wrong decisions can lead to project failure so you need to be extra cautious when assigning tasks and responsibilities to your team.
Knowing the skills of team members will make the decision-making process much easier for project managers. Online task management software can also come in handy in this regard. Fred Mouawad, founder and CEO of TaskWorld said, “Determine which team members are responsible for which pieces of work [up front], and enforce accountability”. This is where a task management software will help you in keeping track of your team’s performance and identify bottlenecks in real time.
4. Communicate and Motivate
Communication gap can wreck havoc on your project so keep it at bay by communicating with your team members and clients regularly either via project management software or through weekly or monthly meetings. According to Capterra Project Management User research report, 65% of companies use project management programs’ chat feature to facilitate easy communication within teams with clients. Holding meetings to discuss key issues during the execution of the project is one way to keep all your team members on the same page.
Have an agenda for each meeting to make them more fruitful. Encourage them to ask questions and share their opinion. You never know they might direct your attention towards a point that you might have overlooked. Value the opinion of your team members and make them own the project to get the best out of the team members.
5. Be Proactive and Anticipate Potential Risks
More than 70% of project managers consider “risk management” as a key component for a successful project. Anticipating risks and having a counter strategy to deal with it will help you in neutralizing risks.
When it comes to risk management, a proactive approach is a much better bet as compared to a reactive one. The way you handle risks that will have a direct impact on the success and failure of your project. You should never take risk management for granted.
6. Regularly Monitor Project Progress
Pat McGuinness, chief technology risk officer at GE Capital advises project managers to “Set frequent milestones and check it often to ensure projects stay on track. If you only set long term milestones, you won’t realize a project is in trouble until it’s too late.”
To complete the project before the deadline, it is highly imperative that you evaluate the project’s progress. Keep an eye on performance of your team members on a regular basis. Thanks to efficient project management software at your disposal, you can easily monitor and track project progress.
Project managers can visualize a project’s progress and know where they actually are and where they’re supposed to be on the project’s timeline developed earlier. By monitoring project status, project managers can set a pace for future and eliminate bottlenecks that hindering smooth project execution.
7. Stay One Step Ahead
Probably the best way to avoid project failure is to stay one-step ahead from the get go. Staying one-step ahead can save you from hurrying to meet the deadlines at the very end or worst, missing the deadline. For that, project managers will have to use their resources effectively and minimize waste and rework,
If you want to become a successful project manager, then follow the aforementioned words of wisdom and complete projects before the deadline, within the allocated budget. Let’s recap. Spend some time in project planning and define tasks for each team member. Keep them motivated and engaged by communicating with them regularly.
Identify risks and take action to mitigate those risks. Set small milestones so you can track progress in a better way. Lastly, do the hard yards early on and maintain a good pace to prevent last minute rush or missed deadlines. By following these project management best practices, you can minimize the chances of project failure and achieve project management success.