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Tips for project success

Tips to - Do the Right Projects

Be strategic and think ahead - make sure that you are solving tomorrow's problem today, not yesterday's problem tomorrow. Critically assess what this project will do for you, don't just copy your competitors.

Take a holistic approach to the whole problem, designing effective and efficient processes end-to-end, considering all stakeholders, then breaking it down for project delivery. Capturing the true customer requirements is often difficult - explore solutions well beyond what they describe. Understand what's vital - and what's just nice to have.

Start the quality planning from the very first. How will you know it's been a success? What are the critical success criteria? How will success be measured? If the answers are not clear, it's the wrong project.

Only do "quick fix" projects if essential. Diagnose the problem thoroughly - don't jump straight to a solution that might be a blind alley. Look for a quick and simple palliative first to create breathing space for making sure the main project is right

Create a vision of what success will look like, and how it aligns with the organization's strategy, then share it with all stakeholders.

The devil is in the detail - if you don't know the detail, start with a feasibility study, don't jump straight into a major project.

Avoid grandiose projects, especially those involving high-profile "big bang" implementations. When they go wrong, it's hard to rescue them e.g. Heathrow T5.

Recognize and embrace complexity, and manage it, don't sweep it under the carpet. Over-simplification is lethal.

Probe the risks right from the start - assumptions need to be recognized and managed in the same way.

Research the risks and lessons learned from previous projects.

Pre-Project/Concept

Project Phases

How do I pick the right projects?

Picking the right projects is vital if they are to be successful.

Many projects fail because they could never possibly succeed – they try to solve the wrong problem, or apply a solution that only partially solves the problem, or implement a solution that isn’t fit for purpose.

Often customer/sponsor expectations are unrealistic, budgets are set too low to get the project approved, and time scales are optimistic, with no contingency for problems.

Picking the right projects is a primary objective of project governance.

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