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8 essential ingredients for project success

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Jan. 15, 2016
Experts in project management discuss the steps necessary for completing projects on time and on budget – and what good PMs do when projects threaten to go off track.

The key is to “use tools [software] that make administration and reporting simple,” says Scott Bales, senior director of customer success at Replicon, a provider of timesheet software. A good project management system should be “easy to run [and provide] real-time reports. Setting up projects and tasks should be easy and obvious by pointing and clicking.”

In addition, a good project management software solution should “have built-in intelligence that anticipates what you need to get the work done” and allow you to “see team productivity, compare actual costs versus original budget, quickly understand overall status, and process and approve expenses immediately,” he says. “And as you proceed with new projects, historical data is readily available to help you make more accurate forecasts.”

6. Project details, team members and clients are kept up to date. “It’s a fallacy to think that project planning happens only at the start of the project. In reality a project is a dynamic, living thing that is constantly changing,” explains Liz Pearce, CEO, LiquidPlanner, a provider of project management software. “Agile project managers do iterative planning and daily stand-ups with their team to keep team communication strong while also staying on top of issues, roadblocks, changes or risks that might send the project off track.”

“A project manager needs to ensure that there is transparency within the team and [with] stakeholders throughout the duration of the project,” adds Jose D. Canelos, project manager, program management, Centric Digital, which helps businesses with user experience and operational processes. “A common issue in projects is [team] members not receiving all the details. By ensuring transparency,” that is, by making sure all team members are kept up to date, not only do you build “trust within the team, which helps projects more than people think, but in the event of an issue, everyone can take action to ensure the project continues down the successful track.”

“Maintaining positive, frequent communication with clients is [also] paramount to a project’s success,” says Ortiz. “At the onset of every project, one of the first points discussed is preferred mode and frequency of communication. “Some clients prefer daily status calls; other prefer weekly. Some prefer dashboard reports; others prefer portfolio. We are completely adaptable and flexible to their needs,” she says. In addition, “our client management team has regularly scheduled conversations with their counterparts to get a sense of overall relationship health and to ensure all expectations are being met, and in most cases, exceeded. We [also] hold recurring ‘State of the State’ presentations with clients to ensure they are abreast of overall industry trends and as they relate to the current engagement.”

 

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