Whether someone is a project manager or wearing the project manager hat by sheer necessity, everyone wants to deliver a successful project. But it often happens that people are struck with a great idea for a project only to realize it was a total bust. It is a demotivating experience for several entrepreneurs and passionate individuals, and many find it difficult to get back on their feet and start a new project.
While we can’t predict a project’s success with 100% accuracy, we can identify key success factors for our projects and take steps to bring in the results we want.
Why do you need to identify the critical success factors for your project?
Most of the projects fail because of the following reasons:
- Project managers don’t completely understand their projects’ critical success factors.
- Those involved in projects focus on completing irrelevant tasks first.
- Non-feasible budgets.
- Non-practical schedules.
- Lack of support and risk management.
All these problems can be easily averted if the project managers identify the critical success factors and understand what their project is truly meant to create.
Most important factors for a successful project management
Critical factors usually vary from project to project. For example, a critical factor for a housing project would be materials and construction workers; it could be skilled personnel for computer software development.
Critical Success Factors for Projects can still be broadly divided into the following categories.
Having a comprehensive plan sets the tone right for the project from the start. A detailed plan also helps the team meet crucial deadlines and stay well organized. With this step, a realistic time frame for the project completion can be set and documentation of cost estimations, project milestones, and deliverables can be clearly done, which makes things much easier as the project progresses.
Effective communication is important to ensure tasks are correctly assigned and monitored and project issues are escalated. Besides that, good communication keeps conflict and confusion from bogging your project down by aligning everyone involved in the project and building team-wide trust, so everyone works better together.
Projects don’t always go as planned, and you may encounter several stumbling blocks on the way. By creating a risk log with an action plan and publishing it to all the key stakeholders in your project, you can prevent several risks down the line.
A motivated team can go the extra mile to deliver a project on time and to budget. Therefore, keep them involved throughout the project and plan frequent milestones to help them feel they are making progress.
Setting expectations clearly
Set expectations clearly – right from the start and never promise anything you know you cannot deliver. Also, clearly define what is in and out of scope. Mention everything in the key project document and walk your customer through them to make them understand and agree to the scope.
Uncertainties and risks are a part of any project. You can still avert a lot of them by simply defining your critical success factors. With smart preparation and planning, you’d be able to save yourself from project failures that often result from a lack of planning.