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September 2008

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Hello,

If you are a new subscriber, we warmly welcome you to our newsletter list. This month’s issue is devoted to project management. All organizations run projects from time to time. It may be installing a new accounting system or implementing a new coaching program. Yet more than half of all projects started fail their objectives. With the effects of the subprime mortgage crisis still being felt around the world and for some time to come, organizations cannot afford to waste precious time and resources on failing projects. Our article this month looks at what you can do to improve the chances of success with your project.

In this issue, we also proudly announce the release of the Second Edition of our practical guide on managing projects. And for our subscribers and loyal customers, we have a special offer on two of our project management products.

Be sure to download the September edition of our Product Catalogue from www.businessperform.com/BPCatalogue.pdf, out now!

Ten Tips for Running Successful Projects

Why do so many projects fail? Researchers regularly conduct studies to find out the leading causes of project failure. Some of the studies are in the public domain. You can look up studies by such groups as Gartner, Carnegie Mellon University and the Project Management Institute. The studies reveal a recurring theme. Here are some of the common causes they identify:

  • poorly defined organizational objectives
  • loose project sponsorship and executive leadership
  • project manager untrained
  • loose scope containment and project change control
  • poorly defined requirements
  • lack of consultation with key project stakeholders
  • no risk management plan
  • unrealistic project estimates
Do any of these look familiar to you? Do you recognize one or more as handicaps in your organization? I have summarized below the top ten things you can do to improve the chances of success of your projects.
  1. Before you start your project, find a committed project sponsor who has sufficient clout in your organization. Your project sponsor will prove invaluable in helping you overcome organizational roadblocks as they arise.

  2. Analyze who are your project’s key stakeholders and communicate with them throughout the project. Your stakeholders can make or break your project. Compile a stakeholder communication plan with the help of your project team and sponsor.

  3. Get your sponsor and key stakeholders together to thrash out the measures of success of your project. How will you know if your project has succeeded? What are the key indicators of success? Get everyone on the same page from the outset.

  4. Decide upfront the methodology you will use on your project. What project phases will the project proceed through? What will be the key go/no go decision points? What are the expected project outputs for each phase?

  5. Draw up a project schedule that clearly allocates project tasks to team members. Identify which tasks depend on others for their successful completion. Communicate schedule progress regularly to all team members and to the project’s sponsor.

  6. Make sure that project changes don’t get out of hand by reviewing and authorizing all proposed changes. Evaluate each proposed change for the impact on project cost, quality and schedule.

  7. Do not let an unforeseen event sink your project. Find out what risks can threaten your project and build a risk mitigation strategy into your project plan. Issues will also arise from time to time, so you will need to keep track of these and communicate their impact to all concerned.

  8. Decide at the start which documents your project will generate and when. For medium- and small-sized projects, keep documentation requirements to a manageable level without significantly increasing the risk to the project.

  9. Once your project finishes, use the measures of success that you agreed at the start to evaluate project performance. Was it within budget? Was it on schedule? Did it produce what it was meant to produce, and at the required quality? What can you learn from this? Now report your project’s performance to your sponsor and the key stakeholders.

  10. Follow up with the key stakeholders and your project team members and find out how they felt about the project. Was the project a success from their perspective? How did the project impact them personally? From this you will discover what went well and what did not go so well. Apply these lessons to your next project.

Successful projects do not just happen. They require structured planning, the right tools, insightful management and good interpersonal skills. Use the ten tips above to help make your next project a winner.

If you have a question about managing projects, contact the article author, Leslie Allan, at
office@businessperform.com. To find out more about project management and review the latest tools and resources, check out the project management section of our website at www.businessperform.com/html/project_management.html

New Edition

A Guide to Project Management We recently released the Second Edition of our highly practical electronic book, A Guide to Project Management. This new edition sees some stylistic and formatting changes. The guide covers all aspects of project management in a very down to earth style. Whether you are a complete novice or you have tried your hand at managing projects, you will find lots of useful information packaged between its covers. The key strength of this guide remains the set of project templates that you get at no extra cost. The templates are supplied in the familiar Microsoft Word format so that you can customize them to your organization’s requirements. And being in softcopy format, you can use them time and time again. Why develop project templates from scratch when you can have them ready to go at your fingertips? You can find out more about the guide at www.businessperform.com/html/project_management_guide.html

If you had purchased the first edition, simply send us your purchase details at office@businessperform.com and we will send you the Second Edition at no cost. We like to see all of our customers stay up to date with the latest in our product offerings.

Special Offer

A Guide to Project Management To show our appreciation to our valuable customers and subscribers, we are offering you our A Guide to Project Management and our Project Scorecard at 25% off. These two products are normally priced at US $80. For two weeks only, buy both now for only US $60. Remember, we now accept 15 national currencies and all products can be downloaded immediately upon confirmation of your payment.

Project ScorecardOur Project Scorecard is a concise project reporting template that automatically calculates and reports project performance in five key result areas: cost, delivery, effort, scope and team satisfaction. To find out more about Project Scorecard, visit the product page at www.businessperform.com/html/project_scorecard.html

To save 25% (US $20), click here to buy now >> https://www.regnow.com/softsell/nph-softsell.cgi?bundle=14817-12,
14817-6&linkid=email
Don’t delay – offer ends 17 September.

From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.


In This Issue
Ten Tips for Running Successful Projects

New Edition

Special Offer
 
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