If you’re concerned a project under your care has grown out of control…, you’re not alone. Incomplete requirements, budget over-runs, and unforeseen technical challenges can turn any project into a total waste of your company’s time and money. When projects start to get out of hand, it’s tempting to blame these problems on:
It takes courage to dig deeper into the real reason why things just aren’t working. To remain competitive, your company must deliver innovative solutions in the most cost-effective manner possible while maintaining high-quality service and support. Unless your business is sitting on a stockpile of disposable cash from orders that won’t stop pouring in, it’s no exception.
According to industry leading research conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI), less than 35% of all completed projects solve the originally intended objectives. In fact, nearly 40% of all projects are considered a complete failure. Of these failures, 37% lack clearly defined objectives and milestones to accurately measure progress. Another 19% fail due to poor communication among project team members, and 18% more fail because of ineffective senior leadership communication.
Further analysis reveals nearly 12.2% of all project costs in 2016 were wasted as a result of these common failure mechanisms. How would your company benefit by reducing this type of waste?
Like any resource, communications must be managed to be effective. Investigating best practices, performing current state analysis, and creating a plan to match operating growth takes time. Unfortunately, communications planning often takes a backseat to conflicting priorities such as sales targets, payroll, and day to day operations. It’s no wonder poor stakeholder communication is responsible for nearly 80% of all project failures!
Setting clear project expectations, objectives and milestones requires all stakeholders to first understand the problem. Project requirements are often written to treat symptoms without addressing the root cause. Drafting requirements without clearly defining the problem, assumptions, and constraints is a high-risk approach to starting any new project initiative. When this happens it is possible for the project team to fulfill all written requirements without solving the intended purpose of the project.
A lower risk approach is to identify and involve members of the project team from the start. Buy-in is more likely when leaders clearly communicate the problem, constraints, and assumptions to those implementing the solution. This approach allows your project team to challenge any unclear requirements, express technical concerns, and evaluate risks prior to initiating the project. Most importantly, everyone has the opportunity to ask, “Are we solving the right problem?”
Meeting your projects intended goals requires everyone to be on the same page at all times. When team members do not clearly understand everyone’s role in the project, mix-ups are certain to occur. If your project team has a hard time completing tasks on time, chances are communications planning hasn’t been prioritized.
An effective communications plan specifies:
If your leadership team struggles to effectively communicate project goals and objectives, they aren’t the only ones. Most successful leaders suffer from one or more bad habits which prevent them being even more successful. These habits can affect their ability to communicate with one another and members of project teams. If someone in your leadership team has a habit of making excuses, not listening, passing blame or withholding information, he or she may be unknowingly sabotaging project objectives. Leaders willing to accept and put forth the effort to overcome these bad habits are capable of successfully changing their behavior.