So what make the difference to success?

That is the big question for a project manager: how to turn a delivered project into a success. With a clear understanding of the objective, good planning, team management skills, an eye on quality, effective financial and risk management a manager can bring a project in on time.

Even then, a few things will not be perfect. Think of the projects you spend years planning and working towards: your graduation, wedding, winning a major sporting event or building a new company headquarters. Do they happen without a glitch? Something will go wrong at some point.

Two of my friends just got married. They have been planning this for about two years. One has had to move countries to do it. They had a plan of all the things they needed to do and worked through it. Everyone wants a perfect wedding and they did all they could to make that happen. They had all the normal stresses that putting on such an event means. They made sure they had a team around them to help with the practical things that needed to be done and that these people understood the flow of the day. It was the best day of their lives and at the end, they were exhausted but ecstatic.

There were glitches: shoes that looked great for the ceremony were not good for dancing, luggage in the wrong place, running ahead of schedule and arriving at the reception a little before the venue was really ready. None of this mattered in the end because the team understood what the outcome of each part would be and could do what was needed to make that happen. Things were fetched from the hotel, some last minute shopping got missing essentials, transport was rearranged and bar staff were alerted before guests got to the venue.

That autonomy to fix the problems meant the team (without fuss) made the adjustments needed to keep the day on track. That team were fully engaged in the efforts to meet the day’s objective. They served that objective not through checklists but by being considerate of the stakeholders. The stakeholder’s opinion is the final deterimination of success and they had a great time.

A project manager does not complete the project alone. To be a truely successful project, the team has to be part of that success. Success is fun and it is habit forming. Most importantly, success is achieved by being thoughtful and having an awareness of what is important and what can be changed to make it so.

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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