Tips to do the right project


Pre-Project/Concept


Be strategic and think ahead


Take a holistic approach to the whole problem, designing effective and efficient processes end-to-end, considering all stakeholders, then breaking it down for project delivery


Start the quality planning from the very first. How will you know it's been a success? What are the critical success criteria? How will success be measured? If the answers are not clear, it's the wrong project


Only do "quick fix" projects if essential


Create a vision of what success will look like and how it aligns with the organization's strategy, then share it with all stakeholders


The devil is in the detail - if you don't know the detail, start with a feasibility study


Avoid grandiose projects, especially those involving high-profile "big bang" implementations


Recognize and embrace complexity, and manage it, don't sweep it under the carpet. Over-simplification is lethal


Probe the risks right from the start - assumptions need to be recognized and managed in the same way


Research the risks and lessons learned from previous projects


Initiation/Definition


Clearly define the project objectives, and what makes the outcome “right” or fit for purpose


Clearly define the project's scope - what's in and what's out


Create a realistic business case - not a fantasy. Ask critical questions about risks and benefits


Be honest - Is this solution feasible? What are the uncertainties? Estimate costs and time realistically


Agree the questions a feasibility phase must answer - it needs to address the right questions at minimal cost and time


Be clear what the price metric is - set Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as the procurement metric, not purchase price


Be clear about uncertainties


Look for synergies with other projects - can they be linked or merged to deliver more with less?


Plan well for benefits realization



Delivery/Development


Business risk is inherent in all project activities - the business sponsor owns that risk, not the PM


Keep looking ahead, don’t be nose to the grindstone - is the vision still true?


Review the business case at planned points and cancel the project or change it if the business case erodes


Manage customer expectations. Most projects last long enough for there to be significant change during the delivery phase - take the customers with you


Final Delivery/Handover


Before you go live, confirm that it is the right thing to do - with all contingency planning successfully completed, and disaster recovery rehearsed and proven


Getting it right is usually more important than on time or budget


Customer satisfaction is the key arbiter of success - make sure this happens through planning a great go-live


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