There are three main measureable elements of a project: time, cost and
quality of the outcome. Project management helps optimise these three
deliverables in order to ensure the overall success of the project.
Projects are an integral part of any business. You need to be aware of what is
happening and where the project fits in the business priorities by placing the
right people to undertake the project.
In addition, you need to know the time frame for delivery of
physical products – essential in the completion of the project – by determining
the lead time for procurement and delivery. These are but some of the things that
you need to know in order for you to prepare a realistic timetable
of the project completion.
Make sure that time constraints are already included in your planning,
as they are an essential and critical part of a project. For contingency purposes,
if possible always add in additional time.
As a rule of thumb, a project that is finished earlier than the timetable is considered
a success, whereas one that exceeds the time plan is considered a failure.
There is always the temptation to quote the lowest possible cost for
a project – as there are other business priorities that require more financing.
Quoting the lowest price, however, will not guarantee the success of the project;
especially when in reality the fund provided is insufficient. Remember,
the cheapest route is not always the best way to take. On the other hand,
the most expensive one may not always be required.
Therefore, you should specifically determine the level of expertise required for
the project and the expected quality outcome when calculating the cost of the project.
Don’t forget to add a contingency level once you have arrived at
the base cost of the project.
In the event that a sufficient funding is not available, it can be deemed that
the project is not a business priority and one that can be delayed or
terminated entirely. When a project fails to deliver due to insufficient funding or
if it goes over its original budget – it will be deemed as a failure.
On the other hand, a project that delivers even when it lacks the funding will
be hailed as a rare success.
The outcome quality of the project does not necessarily mean the best quality,
but rather the best value. A project is considered a success when it manages to
balance the time and cost with the desired outcome.
Expectations from the stakeholder and sponsor must be clearly established from
the beginning. When they expectations are unrealistically set,
you can create plans that accommodate different scenarios.
Consider the three scenarios: a high quality outcome that requires more time and
money investment, a mid-range option that balances the three measures, and
a low-cost option that has a quick completion with minimum requirements.
Present these options to the stakeholder so that the expectations can be set in
more realistic tone. Providing them with the three options allow them to choose
the level of quality expected and a clear measure of the outcome standard.
By agreeing on the specific standards upfront, this will reduce the possibility of
one stakeholder being dissatisfied with the project.
Another important part of a project management is communication.
Without clear communication, both internally within the team and
with the stakeholders, it may lower the chance of the project completion.
You should develop a comprehensive plan hat covers all aspects of communication;
starting from the very first phase through the final celebration – making sure that
those who should be on board and be kept in the loop are not forgotten.