3 Must Haves To Ensure Business Critical Projects Succeed

3 Must Haves To Ensure Business Critical Projects Succeed

Insights | 26 February 2013

1. Executive Management Support

The importance of obtaining executive management support for business critical projects cannot be underestimated as the executive sponsor is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the project.

In a recent examination of successful projects by the Standish Group “Chaos Manifesto 2012 – The Year of the Executive Sponsor”, it was identified that:

  • The most successful projects have quality executive sponsors with expert vision and prompt responsiveness
  • Projects with inspirational executive management support outperform projects that lack inspiration
  • Visionary executive sponsors who enlighten their team have a higher rate of success.
  • Strong and decisive executive sponsors increase the rate of project success
  • Teams that have small and large accomplishments celebrated by executive management continue to meet and exceed project expectations
  • Executive management need know what you are talking about to gain and keep the respect of the team and add value by providing insights.
  • Most failed projects lack quality executive support.
  • Non-responsive or mediocre executive support increases the chances that a project will experience overruns or failure.
  • Assigning project accountability to executive management substantially increases the chance of a successful outcome.

“Executive support is paramount in keeping projects on track and achieving project success,” comments Pete Swan, Director of PM-Partners group, Sydney. “Project Managers rely on Sponsors to own the business case, authorise actions and resolve challenges outside the control of the project manager, however, in my experience Sponsors typically misunderstand their role in the project team and how their contribution influences success or failure”.

2. Communication of strategic clarity

It is well understood that communication is vital to project success. The most successful organisations understand where they are going, communicate this well and clearly align strategy with project outcomes.

For an executive sponsor to be effective in leading a business critical project it is imperative that they obtain and communicate how the project will contribute to the strategic direction. “It is the executive sponsor’s responsibility to clearly convey the importance and the impact the project has on the organisation’s strategic objectives,” said Pete Swan, Director of PM-Partners group, Sydney. “Communication channels must always be open so the PMO can be proactive in their approach and can act dynamically to ensure project success.”

3. Consistent and clear business objectives

Without clear business objectives a project is unlikely to succeed. The project must align the organisation’s goals and strategy, but also be consistent.

Everyone needs to have the same understanding of the project’s business objectives and goals to ensure everyone is on the same page.

“This may sound obvious and simple, but in my experience it is the cause of many project failures, it’s the first thing I ask when a client want’s me to take a look at a project and it’s surprising how many significant projects have unclear, conflicting or non-contributing objectives ,” said Pete Swan, Director of PM-Partners group, Sydney.

Unclear business objectives will cause friction, rework, waste time and money. By having clear business objectives, the expectations and the direction of the project can be planed and managed. This can be especially crucial when each stakeholder has individual thoughts and new ideas about the project and may cause the project to go in uncertain or various directions.

Improving project performance can be a confronting task that often requires a unique approach. If you face challenges and would like some fresh ideas please call to see how we could help. Call us on +65 6818 5771.

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