Here are three key items to keep in mind when you are planning or executing a project, to help ensure your initiative is a success.
Plan, Plan... PLAN!
A good plan is a blueprint of the project, its requirements, resources, schedule and costs. A GREAT plan is one that also establishes the value of the project against organizational objectives and how it supports long-term goals.
When a new project is suggested, compare it against the value of previous, similar work. Verify that all involved parties, sponsors, stakeholders, project managers and their teams understand the nature of the project and the value it will generate.
Be Prepared for Change
Even great plans need to be flexible. Projects evolve as new possibilities and requirements emerge. While scope change is disliked most project managers and their teams, if the value of the requested change can clearly be demonstrated, then it should be pursued.
In this situation, it's critical to develop an accurate assessment of the value of the scope change against its impact on the project's schedule and costs, and to communicate this to stakeholders and sponsors as part of a formal process. By establishing a thorough review and approval process for scope changes, valuable work can be rolled in to the project with the clear understanding of all involved of its purpose, its benefit and how it will affect costs and schedule.
Work Should Be a Runway, Not an Obstacle Course
Poor workflow can hinder project managers and their teams in sticking with project schedules despite the best planning, as well as their ability to handle changes within the project.
There are three factors in improving workflow: communication, accessibility and simplification. Encourage project sponsors, stakeholders, managers and teams to actively communicate about their projects, to stay on the same page about their status and progress. Make sure that everyone involved in the project has ready access to the tools and information they need on an ongoing basis. Finally, review your current processes and identify those that can be streamlined, or eliminated in the case of duplicate or redundant efforts.