I am always amazed at how many projects fail just because they are not built on a solid foundation. In this blog post I will outline the 5 things that begin with the letter s that will ensure your project is built on a solid foundation and increase your project success.
Projects are only successful if they are built on a solid foundation and as the project manager there are five things you need to ensure before the project gets started.
For project success you will need a project sponsor. This is the person who is senior in the organisation and has the power to give you more resources of people and money (for your project). I had a Twitter conversation with Neeraj Arora who raised a great point that a project without a sponsor is an orphan.
@BarryHodge in my view, a orphan project is not a project as you can’t set boundaries
— Neeraj Arora (@NeerajAroraHUB) January 28, 2014
It is critical that you understand what the sponsor wants and that the sponsor understands exactly what you will be delivering. The way to ensure this is by writing a project scope that is clearly understood. In addition it is just as important to make sure that is is understood what is out of scope. To help you write a really good project scope I have written a post on Excellent Project Scope in 5 Steps which can read by clicking here.
With a sponsor and everything agreed as to what will be done the next thing to establish is project stakeholders. These are people who have an interest in the project and managing them properly will increase your chance of project success. However be warned they may not think positively about the project but they still need to be managed. The easy approach that I use is to group stakeholders into a 2 by 2 matrix. The matrix works by plotting stakeholders by their interest and power over the project.
You can download a free template which groups stakeholders into these four groups by clicking here.
With the stakeholders grouped together the next step is to work out how you will communicate to them. For each group you will need to work out how often you will communicate to them and what format you will use. For example a daily social media update, a monthly emailed report.
Project Success Summary
In summary there are five things beginning with the letter S that you need in order to increase project success are:
- Sponsor – Have a project sponsor with ability to give you more resources
- Scope – Agreed what will be done and not done as part of the project
- Stakeholders – Know who the project stakeholders are
- Sort – Group your stakeholders by interest and power
- Say– Have a plan on how and when you will communicate to the stakeholders
This is just the start and there are more that you can do however these 5 things will ensure your project gets off to the best possible start and increase the chance of project success.
What do you think? Is there anything else that you would do to get your project off to the best possible start?