Many organizations face this issue: They kick off a project and the project members are very excited about it and the teams are quickly busy with planning and getting to work on the project. The project has a scope and resources defined. Compared to routine operations, a project is unique with a clear target to achieve.
Then somehow and somewhere along the way, things go in a different direction. Deadlines cannot be kept, and deliverables do not match the expectations of the stakeholders. At this stage, the excitement is gone, and the project has become painful.
To begin the project work without a clear target almost guarantees failure. If an organization does not know what is to be achieved, there is no way to determine if the project was successful.
Organizations create detailed timelines with milestones, themes and interfaces. With all that planning, the needed resources required to implement what is planned is not considered. If there is no manpower, tools or sufficient equipment available, the project will just stay a plan on a piece of paper.
Even if the project is well planned and resources are available it can quickly fail if the tasks and achievements are not transparent. It is essential to create a project management system that provides transparency, not just for the project manager but for all team members. This includes task status, clear communication as well as good document management.
It should go without saying, but communication in project management is the key. The tools your team uses to communicate should be explained and implemented from the start of your project.
Starting with a simple customer request to add just one item here or a good idea from a colleague to change and add something there, results in the end that the original project scope is outgrown. This happens because of three reasons:
- The parameters of the project were not well-defined.
- Internal pressure from the teams results in changes.
- The team, separately from the customer or higher management, starts to take on tasks that were not part of the original scope of the project.
Exaggerated optimism within the team or unrealistic expectations of the stakeholders can destroy any project. The project management needs to communicate a clear vision and picture of what the team can accomplish and in what time frame. This needs to be clear to all team members and stakeholders.