According to a survey conducted by Innotas that was reported in CIO Today, 55 percent of respondents reported they had a technical project fail within the past 12 months. Luckily the statistics aren’t all doom and gloom. In more recent years, PMI’s reporting has shown that success rates are on the rise. However, any way you slice and dice the numbers, the bottom-line seems to remain the same.
We should be doing better.
Of course, that’s way easier said than done. CIO Today also reported, “By categorizing documented causes of IT project failure, a majority—54 percent—are attributed to project management.”
Yikes. If you’ve ever been involved in a complex IT project, like a technical implementation or new customer onboarding, you know that juggling multiple technologies, resources, and stakeholders is an incredibly complicated process. The odds are simply stacked against you. (If you want to better understand just how bad the math is, check out our Project Paradox video.)
Instead of dwelling on the numbers, let’s focus on the positive — as project managers, this is in our hands! We’ve compiled a quick list of ways you can improve your chances of success this year.
Four ways to improve your project’s chances of succeeding on time and on budget
1. Start with a clear and complete plan.
Most projects are doomed before they even begin. Loose deadlines, unclear owners, and undefined task details can all contribute to project hiccups. A comprehensive and complete project plan with clear and concise deadlines and requirements is crucial to your project’s success. We know that changes and shifts will have to be made along the way, but it’s essential to start your team off on the same page.
2. Hold team members accountable.
Accountability seems intuitive, but this is oftentimes where we see teams fall flat. Simply emailing someone, sending a message on Slack, or logging notes in Jira isn’t a valid way to hold people accountable. Every organization has multiple methods of communication and sending a message doesn’t guarantee receipt or acceptance. It’s way too easy for these methods to get lost in the everyday shuffle. There needs to be firm acceptance of tasks so that individuals show ownership, understand their responsibilities and hold themselves accountable.
3. Increase communication and visibility with key stakeholders.
With large-scale projects, there are always unclear tasks or unknown dependencies that seem to slip through the cracks. Find a regular cadence and method to communicate project progress to key stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle. Make status and progress easy to gauge at a glance for executives and allow contributors to feel heard. Consistent feedback from stakeholders will keep the requirements and goals aligned. Stakeholders can also help you protect and acquire resources if there are any potential roadblocks or needs for flexibility.
4. Predict risks and stop waiting for deadlines.
Be PROACTIVE! Are tasks on your critical path at risk of falling behind? Can you add additional resources? Do your resources have the capacity? Are there due dates you can shift? Is your project still projecting to hit its deadline? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Plan, track, monitor, and adjust your project architecture. Project management, especially for a technical project, can never never simply follow a "set it and forget it" mindset. Projects are living, breathing beasts that need daily monitoring to thrive.
Lucky for you, there are multiple resources and tools, like Moovila, that can help you meet your project goals—no matter what they might be. From custom builds to technical implementations to partner ecosystem onboarding, we’ve got you covered.