High Performing Projects Have These 8 Things in Common

Why do most projects fail? The reasons are aplenty. In fact only around 30% projects manage to fulfill their objectives within the allocated time and budget. So what sets high performing projects apart from the failed ones? This infographic highlights common characteristics of high performing projects, which you can incorporate in your projects as well.

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Let’s start with one the most important factors. A certified project manager that has years of experience. Around 80% of high performing projects had this as a common factor, second only to frequent use of risk management. Although the basics components of project management has stayed the same, the methodologies, tools and the way organizations work has changed rapidly. This is why experience, certification and training has become important.

And finding an experienced and certified project manager is no easy task. A report by PMI states that close to 16 million new project management roles will be created globally by 2020. If you’re thinking of switching careers then getting some project management certification is a good way to go about it.

However, a good manager is only the second most important factor. The most common factor found in high performing projects is frequent use of risk management. No matter how good you are at planning during the lifetime of a project there are internal and external factors that can affect the outcome of a project. Risk management is identifying those factors and responding to them in a timely manner.

Another common factor is measurable and attainable goals or deliverables. To decide whether it’s attainable first it has to be measurable. These are usually agreed when starting the project and often used to measure the success of a project.

A measurable goal is extremely important when the deliverable is intangible. For example if the project is to build something, it’s somewhat easier to measure by seeing the end result. But for a project like improving product output, training a division about a methodology etc. it’s extremely important to agree on a measurable goal beforehand.

A realistic budget is another common factor in high performing projects. A successful project delivers on time and on budget, so getting this right is important. In fact most large IT projects (large meaning budget greater than 15 million) runs 45% over budget. The situation is so bad that this threatens the survival of around 17% companies. This goes to show how important budgeting is to a project.

One of the biggest mistakes made when budgeting is not anticipating future risks and planning for it. Although you can identify them using risk management techniques you need to have the budget to respond to those risks. Even with the right budget things can go wrong if you don’t manage it properly. So make sure to follow good project budget management practices.

Effective communication is important for most things, but it’s essential for a success of a project. There are different types of communications in a project. Top management must clearly communicate the goals and deliverables to the team and also the importance of the project to overall strategy of the company. Then there’s the communication within the team and between teams, which needs to be addressed by the managers. Around 26% report this as the key to a project success and it can be easily addressed by using project management software. And finally you need to constantly communicate with your stakeholders and update them about the progress of the project.

Technically speaking, a successful project is a project where the agreed objectives are delivered on time and on budget. But in reality project success is measured on few other criteria’s. And the most important of them is stakeholder satisfaction. In fact, 20% of companies consider a project a success if the stakeholders are satisfied. Yes, while delivering on time and budget is important (they do contribute to the satisfaction) the most important thing is stakeholder satisfaction.

This is why stakeholder management is so important for a successful project. You need to understand their expectations, listen to their concerns, quickly communicate new risks and try to deliver above their expectations.

Listed above are common characteristics found in high performing projects with stats to back them up. Although they can’t guarantee project success if you include them to your project there is a high chance you will succeed.

Nishadha Silva

Nishadha Silva is an online strategist for web based diagramming tool Creately. You can use it to create Gantt charts, workflows, mind maps, flowcharts, work breakdown structures and many other diagrams related to project management.

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