Workflows, Gantt charts, budgets, quality testing, production deadlines, deliverables, risk management -- the list goes on. It's no surprise that project management (PM) is one of the most lucrative professions out there; but with high reward also comes high risk.
The PMI's 8th Global Project Management Survey found that "For every $1 billion invested in the United States, $122 million was wasted due to lacking project performance." Another study by The Standish Group, found that "Fewer than a third of all projects were completed on time and on budget over the past year".
Which such low success rates, a question often asked by PM's is, "What are the best, most proven, strategies for project management success?"
We consolidated information from Project Management Offices (PMOs) from across a range of industries to determine the proven strategies to meet key project milestones on time and within budget, while delivering the expected ROI and overall expectations.
The Top 5 Strategies for Project Management Success
After setting up many small and large PMOs over the years and experiencing many successes, frustrations, and failures, we feel that these 5 strategies will significantly increase the chances of success of any PM and PMO.
- Replace micromanagement with individual accountability
- Get ahead of the game
- Get a handle on your scope
- Focus on communication
- Know your limitations and constraints
1. Replace Micromanagement with Employee Accountability
It is also the easiest way to turn a PMO into an ineffective and bureaucratic burden quickly.
When employees have no authority to make decisions and are not empowered to solve issues or to reach a goal, they feel no accountability for the outcome. Their hearts and minds are not with the project. Confusion as to who is ultimately responsible for the outcome of a given task is the kiss of death.
Accountability brings clarity, empowerment, and energy.
Learn more by downloading our Ultimate Guide to Accountability in the Workplace here:
Bringing in and using a specialized accountability tool like CommandHound can help avoid the micromanagement trap. In addition, an accountability tool helps define who is responsible for key milestones, clear due dates, clear escalation paths, and, more importantly, it allows for the tracking of performance at the individual level for accountability purposes.
2. Get Ahead of the Game
A PMO that is ahead of the game plays a strategic role in any project by being able to look ahead for potential issues, risks, and roadblocks that may impact a project. A strategic PMO is uniquely prepared to be able to see across artificial or real organizational and/or physical boundaries.
A non-strategic PMO quickly becomes a bureaucratic paper-pushing burden.
A proven PMO technique to get ahead of the game is to embrace and run an Agile model of continuous and incremental execution. This will help the PMO keep track of the pulse of the project as things develop across the board.
3. Get a Handle on Your Scope
Understanding what the role and scope of a PM or PMO is fundamental to the success of any project. Making sure that a PM or PMO includes in its scope all of the areas critical to its success is critical.
4. Focus on Communication
The importance of communication across all teams within your project is crucial to its success. Modern projects have multiple deadlines every few weeks. This has made it crucial to have detailed, frequent communication between teams and team members to ensure all task dependencies are accounted for and no bottlenecks are created.
Clear accountability will drive direct team member to team member communications to make sure things get done.
5. Know Your Limitations and Constraints
As we know, a PM or a PMO is only as good as the individuals on the teams. As a result, it is imperative that all skills and specialists capable of managing each project requirement are part of the team and accessible.
Watch out for scope creep. If not managed properly, deadlines, budgets, and morale are quickly impacted. A strong "change control" process will help quickly and thoroughly quantify the impact on deadlines, budgets, and morale of any proposed change before that change is made to the scope of the project.
The Ultimate Accountability Tool
CommandHound is a tool that has been designed from the ground up to help PMs and PMOs use accountability to make sure things get done.
CommandHound accomplishes this by clearly communicating concrete expectations and, more importantly, by tracking individuals performance against these expectations.
Would you like to learn more?