According to a 2018 PMI Pulse of the Profession project management survey, which involved nearly 4500 project management practitioners, 446 senior executives and 800 project management office (PMO) directors from across the globe, there are three key factors that any organization should take into account to ensure project success.
1. Executive Sponsor Involvement
Actively engaged executive sponsors help organisations to bridge the communications gap between influencers and implementers. This results in a significant increase in collaboration and support, boosting project success rates and reducing risk.
To improve executive stakeholder involvement:
- Create a culture that supports the relationship between project managers and executive sponsors;
- Develop a roadmap, which includes skills and actions, for the executive sponsor; and
- Provide training to prepare executive sponsors for various steps during project
2. Scope control
Scope creep (the uncontrolled expansion of product or project scope without adjustments to time, cost and resources) not only results in wasted money, but also decreases satisfaction and delays project benefits.
Among the factors leading to scope creep are a lack of clarity; changes to the organization’s priorities and project objectives, and flawed requirement gathering along with project complexity.
Risk of project creep can be reduced by:
- Creating awareness of the business benefits;
- Establishing a credible feedback loop with the customer; and
- Taking iterative approaches that allow for shifts in delivery midstream.
3. Clear Communications
Projects often ‘fail’ because we simply fail to clearly articulate the vision and the project’s success criteria. This vision must be successfully communicated to each stakeholder and team member. The whole team should be able to visualise the end result, in order to work towards a common goal.
Regular reporting of the project’s progress and status is crucial to the success of the project. Communicating this to all stakeholders in a clear and precise manner is paramount, so that all understand the key messages. Diagrams, charts, graphs and tables should be maximized here. The well known saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is no less true than when communicating project progress or status.
Effective and efficient project management communication is delivered by first considering the needs of the audience you are intending to communicate with, put yourself in their shoes and anticipate what they need to understand, and then provide that understanding only. Strong presentation skills are essential for communicating project progress and status. The audience needs to be engaged during these presentations to check that the key messages have been received and understood.
To improve communication on projects:
- Be fully engaged, listen and understand concerns of all stakeholders throughout the project.
- Regular, ongoing and transparent communication is key to ensure everyone agrees and works towards project goals.
- Using the appropriate communication channels and tools to deliver messages will ensure audience receives and retains the information.