Well, there are a few critical factors relating to a project’s success, but the author, based on her experience thinks that effective governance is one of the most vital of them all (Meredith & Mantel, 2014, p 180). The project can manifest as a successful end product based on clear goals and laid out objectives, and competent teams realise the vision as goals (Meredith & Mantel, 2014, p 92). Further, Risk management, contingency planning and TOP management support seals it all towards success (Rasiel, 1999).
Critical Success Factors for Project Success
Having the experience of working closely within IT and Health sectors, the author finds effective governance and having goals and objectives of high importance within the public service domains, such as health, education and government. For instance, within an IT software development requires skilled developers as a critical factor. Whereas, a project in which the teams are globally dispersed, effective communication skills and productive collaborations become vital (Wang et al., 2009, p 597), so it is highly dependent on the project context. The most critical PM task is to identify the essential factors of success for the concerned project, at the very onset. For example with a plan to enable:
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- TOP executives to lay out clear objectives & goals
- Leaders to follow good governance practices
- Choose competent teams to realise goals
- Be prepared with an effective risk management plan
PM needs to put efforts towards garnering a commitment from all the project stakeholders (teams, customers, TOP management & shareholders). The TOPP management sets goals and receiving sponsors is the key with the Executive management making all decisions and laying out company goals & strategies (Patanakul & Shenhar, 2012, p 17). Maintaining and relating the project strategies in line with the sponsor’s understanding (& environment) will require effective communication skills above all to define management’s efficiency (Wang et al., 2009, p 597).
Making sure that the project goals and deliveries remain realistic requires managers to enable SMART objectives (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound), especially when the project is treated as a temporary organisation (Turner & Müller, 2003, p 7). Differentiating between a project and a programme is another essential skill suggested by Turner & Müller (2003, p7).
- Especially when the project is treated as a temporary organisation, conflicts are inevitable (Turner & Müller, 2003, p 7). Managers should work towards enabling an agreement between involved parties a contingency plan. Identify & resolve quicker.
- Proper risk management policies ought to be established from the onset.
- Perhaps one of the essential factors will be establishing a solid leadership within the project. Someone who is approachable and capable of applying the right (best) practices throughout the project development life cycle.
- Project management focuses on project planning, scheduling & resource management (Patanakul & Shenhar, 2012, p 5) by utilising tools such as bar charts, PERT charts etc. Clear vision and thought process enables the management to plan better and in turn maintains a well-organised project schedule & successful execution.
- Strategic communication ensures the health of the project remains good. After managing a business for the past four years, one of the essential lessons learnt is to document everything and get it agreed with the stakeholders. On a regular basis (through different channels), managers must communicate with team members, TOP management and consumers at required levels throughout the project’s lifecycle.
Throughout the past modules, we have realised that without the TOP Management’s Support & Planning, projects can easily derail from its path, far away from success. The author, when working on an Iron and Steel industry Project, realised the importance of freeing the CEO for his leadership job. By implementing the McKinley’s TOPP (Total operational performance & productivity) model (Rasiel, 1999), which efficiently guided the executive team to make decisions and take the initiative. So, in pure honesty, management success is not only based on the project’s context and the defined sector. But, most importantly the level of good governance & effective communication, the realisation of goals on the very onset and risk management are by far most critical for success.