Companies all over the world complain that projects either overspent their budget or that the budget failed to impress or even achieve its outcome. The initial stance is almost always to blame the other party. Management blame outside consultants and project management blame the accountants. What actually goes wrong? So often we need to learn lessons rather than resort to ridicule.
What does go wrong?
The biggest known problem begins before the project even launches. If the goals and objectives aren’t clear to all involved then the results and processes will be ambiguous. You must define clear goals and set objectives agreed by all parties for the project to run smoothly, otherwise you will be fighting an uphill battle before the documents have left the printer. You always spend time choosing the right office insurance for your business so why decide to cut corners on your project management?
Along the same lines are project goals which are different for each of the necessary stakeholders. If one department needs to achieve one target while another requires a different aim, it is unlikely that the project can work in favor of two different planning routes. Both will try to judge the project on different results.
Lack of support
If major players are not involved sufficiently, then holes will appear in the planning and results driven process. If, for example, only half the board of directors agrees with the project, some of those will be against it from the start. There is a chance they will be looking at how the project can fail rather than how it can succeed.
This may lead to their individual teams – employees - being alienated in a project that only half the team is really involved with properly. If half are being left out of the loop they are not in a position to fully analyze what is happening, what is going wrong or even to see the results of success.
If there is poor communication then some employees will not even know the details of a project in action, let alone how to be a part of making it work well.
If individuals do not know or understand their responsibilities then the project is set up to fail and the people involved are likely to be looking for alternative employment, but without being given a fair chance to be successful.
The targets of the project need to be clearly defined and measurable. If participants lack information about targets to be achieved or altered, they won’t know how they are affecting the project’s overall performance. There are some company secrets you must keep, but project management should include everyone, where possible, with very few exceptions. The more a company includes its entire workforce, the better results it will achieve.
Planning is the key to success
Often projects can have great targets and fine objectives, but if the planning process in between is faulty, the whole project may fail. Sometimes this is due to a lack of resources or funding.
If the wrong suppliers are chosen because of price or friendship, the workforce will see the inferior content and bring morale down rapidly. They will quickly lose trust in the project management process unless complete reasons for choosing particular supplies and suppliers are explained fully.
Solving the problems
Failure to choose the right people to head the project is the start of solving any issues. If you change to the correct project management, whether this means outsourcing or using members of your current team, the right people must be given the best chance to do the right job.
The focus must be on the right targets and objectives that suit both the business ethos and the company’s budget. If the skills are not available in house, then you need to find or train them before the project planning begins. You need to focus on these areas to ensure that your project has the best chance to go forward.