Why do projects succeed?

Why do projects succeed?

In the world of IT, many projects fail. This applies not only to customization on-premise, but also to SaaS projects. Figures are mentioned from 75 to 90%! In any case, many times more often than, for example, in construction. For that reason alone, I don’t like working in IT. As an argument, we often hear that people have thousands of years of experience in construction and in IT at most 50. An IT project costs a lot of money and everyone wants to know why it went wrong if only to avoid those mistakes next time. to make more. Such evaluations present a mixed picture and the question is whether the correct conclusions are drawn. After all, evaluating is like Jokering. The last person to hold cards is the perpetrator or the victim.

Play it less hard

Because only 10-25% of the projects succeed, it might be wise to turn it around and see why those projects succeed. In any case, we play the game less hard so that the truth comes into view more clearly.

How much analysis do we actually need? If we go by our gut feeling, we actually already know. There is only one reason why projects succeed and that is because there is no other choice, they have to succeed.

Business case projects

These IT projects usually succeed. We are not talking about business cases here, but about the urgent need. At one business case project, people do not always estimate the planning, costs, or benefits realistically because they want to win a project. Hidden costs surface as the project progresses. In the beginning, it is expected that this will be recouped later in the project, but of course, that does not happen. At that moment the Joker game is already out of the bag, people cover themselves and start to show diving behavior. The project has actually already failed before the realization has started.

An important difference between a business case project and a must project is in vagueness versus concreteness.

Timely adjustment of projects

What reasons (= vagueness) are mentioned for the failure of projects and how are they tackled in a successful project?

Fear of changes due to projects

“Adapting to changing circumstances is the only way to survive”. (Darwin). Fear is a bad counselor. We have no choice, change is necessary to survive. Name the fear and make the changes concrete.

Unclear commissionership

Unclear commissioning hardly ever occurs in a must-project. If the image or survival of the organization depends on the project, top management will act as the client. That will be on top of it and regularly ask for reports if they do not come quickly enough. Provide a specific client.

Is there insufficient commitment from the client

Two-thirds of the project leaders of a business case project do not receive structural support from the client. Does the client sometimes live in a fairytale world? His business is at stake. It is the duty of the project manager to point this out to him. If the PM still does not get a commitment, he must get it from other stakeholders. The project must succeed! Ensure concrete commitment from the client for the project.

The organization’s existing procedures are not followed

There are always managers who try to circumvent the formal decision-making, planning, prioritizing, and execution processes. Not allowed. What are they up to! Who cares about self-interest anymore? We must subordinate everything to the success of the project. Make it clear according to which procedures the project is progressing, ensure that it is concretely embedded in the organization.

The planning is not based on hard facts

This is the case with most business case projects. Deadlines, objectives, and budgets we often overestimate under political pressure. As soon as the project manager of the must-project notices that the planning is not realistic, he will immediately ring the bell. After all, the organization is at stake. In no time there will be a realistic schedule with a realistic budget. Make sure you have realistic planning and budget.

Progress and risks are not fairly reported

People often ignore, downplay or hide problems and risks. In a must-project, we have to play open cards. The client must know where he stands in order to be able to make timely adjustments. Provide honest concrete reporting and concrete reporting lines.

The project organization is too big

Projects that are too large with multiple teams and different sub-goals become unmanageable in the long run. The recipe for failure. We adjust our ambitions, focus on that one goal, and throw the rest of the ballast overboard. Provide a controllable project organization.

Not all project team members do their best

Project leaders regularly deal with team members who fail to show up to meetings, fail to adhere to schedules, or are not competent enough to achieve the goal. Replace immediately. It cannot be that team members frustrate a must-project. It’s up or down! Provide a well-oiled and strong project team with the right specialists.

There is poor communication

Good or not good to communicate makes little difference in a must-project. The project must go ahead anyway. A world can be won with good communication and of course, the project helps enormously. A project runs a lot smoother if we communicate sufficiently. Ensure clear and correct communication.

As soon as the project manager encounters one of these problems, he must make immediate and concrete adjustments. By also applying these rules to business case projects, many more projects would be successful. If we look at it this way, it is not all that difficult to make an IT project succeed….