Attitudes to Succeed in Projects

What can programme and project managers learn from other areas to improve their approaches to success?  This week I’ve seen two.

KIPP is a group of independent schools and colleges in USA with the aim of getting disadvantaged children into university. They take a different approach to getting children from families who wouldn’t normally even think of going to aspire to high skill/knowledge careers that will help them lead their communities of out of their economic disadvantage.  In 15 years (first school founded in 1995) they have developed thousands of “no hope” children into successful scholarship students.  Now there is a challenge.  How did they go about it? In their words, “hard work and discipline”.

They also set challenging targets and building aspiration. Everyone knows what is expect of them (staff and children) and how that will be measured. There is a relentless focus on results.

Commitment is high but that is because parents and pupils opt in. The team know exactly what they will be part of, and know they have to keep engaged to succeed. This also extends to being open about what the working conditions will be – KIPP schools have longer days and homework clubs. When you start a project, how do you make sure your team have opted in?

Everyone gets feedback based on data related to their targets. All involved can see what progress has been made. That focuses all the efforts on what is being measured – so they have to be careful what targets they set and what they measure. There is a culture of fixing things early – as soon as things drift of target.

Everyone is encouraged to lead in some aspect of school life and collaboration. In other words, they build the team and value everyone.  As part of this, they  develop leaders and communities of practice within staff to build for the future. How do you help your team improve and build their career?

More information

The other was a review of entrepeneurs who ran very small organisations and how they were success. They plan, they find new ways of doing things, they keep going, they don’t want to waste time on things that work towards to their goals – even than they may have lots of ideas buzzing.

So in summary: plan, get the team committed, focus on today’s tasks, measure success, swift corrective action to keep on track.


About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

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