The output of a project meeting the client’s requirements is one of the clear measures of a successfully delivered project. Where projects have succeeded, it is usually because the project’s output has met the client’s requirements as close to what was anticipated as possible. To this end, the success or failure of projects is often due to how well needs were communicated, validated, and executed. These are dependent on three main elements that span the lifecycle of a project. These elements are independent of the organization’s size, project definition, or the nature of the project.
Stakeholders have a significant influence on the success of every project. They can support the speedy delivery of a project or become a bottleneck to progress; hence, the need to properly identify and collaborate with stakeholders throughout the project’s duration is critical. As early as possible, Stakeholder mapping is a worthwhile exercise for project and change teams to conduct as it gives a thorough overview of the stakeholder landscape before commencing project delivery. It is crucial to identify the categories of stakeholders and the individual roles involved in your project. Understand each stakeholder’s role and their impact on the project; with this, you can determine their communication needs and how to engage with them throughout the project. Additionally, the stakeholder identification process is not a static one. As new stakeholders may join the project at different stages, being proactive in managing the influence and impact of these new stakeholders on the project is the difference between project success and failure.
The overall long-term strategic decision of an organization that often begins with the mission, vision, values, marketplace, the wider industry, and competition would significantly impact every project executed in the organization. Strategic planning goes a long way in helping plan for the project completion time, cost, and resources – labor, non-labor, and material. Ensuring project success demands that the project manager understands the strategic objectives of the organization. There is often a risk of projects being too focused on the micro-level activities rather than the aggregate macro-level benefits they deliver. Having sight of and maintaining perspective on the organization’s strategic goals helps to; reinforce the project objective, support buy-in from stakeholders, and track benefits back to strategic aims.
Organizational support takes on many different forms: from senior-level support, technology availability to access to resources and people, providing procurement procedures, Human Resources, and facilities for project implementation. This support offers a landscape that is essential to project delivery. In situations where one or more of these support elements are missing, more time is spent justifying the need for support than executing the project. However, where support is provided, how these are leveraged is often a great indicator of the efficiency of the project delivery in minimizing waste and optimizing outputs.
In all three instances, project success is often exogenous to the efforts of the project team themselves. A project’s success is often not a reflection of the project delivery lead or team, but more how the said team can influence and anticipate the people and resource constraints they may face before execution begins. Adequately planning for this is more of a success enabler than any tool or methodology.