Successful projects

Leadership is one of the most important issues facing organizations today because of the rapid changes that are occurring in every facet of our lives. As a result, a large body of literature has emerged that explores how to guide people to achieve common

Leadership is one of the most important issues facing organizations today because of the rapid changes that are occurring in every facet of our lives. As a result, a large body of literature has emerged that explores how to guide people to achieve common goals in a wide variety of settings. When working in a matrix environment, your project’s success depends on your ability to organize, coordinate, and support a diverse team that’s working toward a common goal.

Often these people come from different areas of your organization, have different operating styles, and don’t report to you administratively. Successfully guiding such a group of people requires both vision and structure.

When planning your project, explore the why of the project (a leadership issue) to help elicit people’s buy-in and commitment. Also explore the what, when, and how (management issues) to develop a feasible approach for successfully achieving the project’s goals. When organizing your project, clarify who will support the different project activities (a management task) and help them get excited about doing it (a leadership task). Continually let people know how the project is progressing and deal with any problems you encounter along the way (management tasks); and remind people of the project’s benefits and acknowledge their contributions to the project’s success (leadership tasks).

Increasing commitment

Although some people commit to completing an assignment because someone tells them to do so, you get a much more serious commitment when a person recognizes and appreciates a project’s benefits. When discussing your project’s benefits with your team, consider ones that are important to your organization, its employees, and its clients, such as the following:
– Improved products and services
– Increased sales
– Improved productivity
– Better work environment

Also consider potential benefits to each team member, such as the following:
– Acquiring new skills and knowledge
– Working in an enjoyable environment
– Expanding business contacts
– Enhancing career potential

Attributes of successful projects

You can measure how successful your project is by measuring against the following criteria:

1. Delivered as promised
Project met stakeholder’s expectetions by producing all the stated deliverables, including purpose and expected quality.

2. Completed on-time
Project completed within the approved schedule.

3. Completed within budget
Project completed under the approved budget.

If you never worked in large organisation it is perhaps also worth noting that successful projects maintains “win-win” relationships within organisation.

Before we review the common traits of many successful projects, there’s a lot to be learned from “less than successful” projects. From my experience, the reasons for project troubles can be generally classified in two groups: organizational-level issues and project-level issues.