In this series of blogs we take a look at the factors that make a project successful or if you prefer explain why a project may fail. The rest of the series includes a look at ‘Planning’, Time & Budget’, ‘Communication’ and ‘Project Management’
Definition. Let’s start with what the project is for and what outcomes are sought.
Arguably the most important element of any project is knowing what problem you are trying to solve. Many businesses rush this stage, without truly understanding the problem and underlying factors that impact on this. Failing to understand the problem from every angle means that elements might be missed or not considered as part of the solution leading to the potential that any solution provided may not actually be the best one.
Defining the project is a stage often under invested in both financially and in terms of time and effort. Tempting as it might be to jump straight in, investment into this stage of the project is critical as without a clear project definition how can anyone know what is required to be delivered and how will this be achieved. A common failing at this stage is not involving a cross section of the people that will actually use the end product once delivered. Without involving the user community, it is difficult to ensure that their needs will be met and their working practices improved. All of which will make it more challenging to gain a high level of user adoption which will be key to achieving a return on investment from the project.
At the definition stage it is crucial that everyone involved in the project shares the same expectations for the outcome and what is to be delivered. To achieve this, it is important to define a set of tangible criteria on which the success of the project will be measured. That way everyone can agree to ensuring that the project is driven to achieve these metrics.