Successful project delivery: on time and on budget

What is a successful project?

You deliver a successful project when meeting budget and deadline requirements as well as stakeholders’ scope and quality expectations.

Key project success factors

Quite a bit of research has gone into what will make a project a success. Thereby, a number of reasons for success have been identified. When comparing different articles on how to make a project a success, it all comes down to six key project success factors which I will elaborate on more in the following.

Next to the identified key success factors, OpenProject as web-based open source project management software is perfectly suited to support team collaboration and make your project a success. All project related information is in one space, available for everyone at any time.

Setting project objectives with stakeholders

Make sure you set clear project objectives from the start. What is the intended outcome of your project? Define project deliverables and assets and or results like an increase in productivity. Know who your stakeholders are and what their interests are. Agree on the objectives together and put them into writing. Thereby, the objectives should be S.M.A.R.T to be meaningful and trackable. Throughout the project the objectives can serve as a guidance and you can always check any of your actions against them.

Next to the project objectives we have the project requirements. Project requirements are users’ needs and can be functional and non-functional. Documenting all requirements leads to setting the scope of the project. In order to deliver on the project objectives, the project requirements need to be met. That is why you also need to agree with all stakeholders on the requirements. Not all requirements might be known from the start of the project so it is an on-going requirements definition and change process and needs constant feedback with the stakeholders to be aligned.

In OpenProject, you could use the roadmap to set and share objectives with all stakeholders.

Creating a project plan and changing it ongoing

A project plan is not the project’s timeline. Instead, the project plan describes the processes of project execution and control; how will the team deliver the project. With the project plan, you are prepared for any difficulty that can arise and you will know if you have enough resources, if you can deliver on time, what the project will cost etc. The plan can include objectives, scope, stakeholders and then defines time, change, quality, risk and cost management, communications – and anything else that needs clarification for the team. When you create the project plan make sure to collaborate with relevant team members to not only get their buy-in but also their in-depth knowledge. Once set up, share the plan as early as possible in the project. And be ready to adapt it on-going to internal and external changes.

OpenProject supports your planning with the work package list where you can add a lot of information and Gantt charts for the timeline.

Constant tracking

Always be up to date with your project’s status and progress. Only when you know where you are standing can you take action to bring the project back on track. Keeping track is vital for issue and risk management. Thereby, tracking refers not only to a project’s budget, time and quality but also to its requirements. Be in close contact with your stakeholders to align and manage expectations constantly.

In OpenProject, it is easy to quickly get an update on your project. Get an overview of all projects or on project level and create cost reports to check on budget versus actual.

Implementing a formal project management methodology with a skilled team

Another factor to make your project a success is using a formal project management methodology within a team that has the relevant project management know-how. Following a structured approach with agile, waterfall or hybrid project management tools ensures efficient, objectives-oriented collaboration. Thereby, the project team needs the necessary knowledge and experience to tailor the project management methodology to the project. A smaller project e.g. might need a less rigorous application of the project management methodology.

OpenProject supports all project management methodologies and also allows for a hybrid approach

Communicating project deliverables and activities

If you want to reduce coordination time and have your team work efficiently, ensure effortless and flawless communication. Every team member needs to have the deliverables in mind and be up to date at all times. Information must be available for everyone at any time to avoid misinformation and or lengthy search for information.

OpenProject serves as collaboration tool, providing access to all project related information to all project members at any time. Several features support optimal information sharing.

Executive support

To deliver a project successfully, you need the support of executive management. They approve projects, assign priorities to projects in the organization and are a special stakeholder that needs to be taken care of to keep your project going and on a high priority. You want be close to executive management to get to know about their perspective that Is much broader and spans beyond your project. That way, you can take that perspective into account when selling your project to the executive team, making sure it is always top of mind and considered important for the organization.

Even the executive team could be granted access to OpenProject to collaborate transparently. Different roles with permissions can be created to differentiate between users and stakeholders.

Improve project success rate

You can influence project success by following the above-mentioned success factors. By doing so, you will have a better project scope, always have the objectives in mind, using structured approach, meet expectations of stakeholders and executive management in specific and meet deadlines. Consequently, your project success rate will increase.