Project Management and Execution
Project delivery success factors
After more than 15 years of specialized project management work, I have noted several essential elements that
are key success factors that will greatly influence the outcome. This article aims to share with you some of
those elements that come up most often.
In order to successfully deliver a project, there are some prerequisites that can not be circumvented :
N˚1 Having a senior project officer in the organization, motivated to support the project.
N˚2 A clearly defined scope.
N˚3 An understanding of the measurable benefits that will be gained by delivering the project.
N˚4 A team fully dedicated to the project whose performance will be evaluated by the project’s leadership. This team should be composed of competent members, expert in their field and empowered to make decisions.
N˚5 Availability of experts from different business sectors in support of the project.
N˚6 A work environment (including desk and meeting rooms) that facilitates teamwork and interaction among project team members.
If any of the above elements are left unmet, it is essential to develop a plan and actions to remedy the situation otherwise the success of the project will be impacted or even doomed to failure.
Once this step is completed, it will be the responsibility of the project manager to :
N˚1 Define the roles and responsibilities of each member of the team.
N˚2 Define the deliverables to be produced and the person responsible for each of them.
N˚3 Build a detailed delivery plan.
N˚4 Define processes for review and acceptance of deliverables (to be considered in planning).
N˚5 Clearly communicate, usually in a kick-off meeting, this information so that it is clearly known by each member of the team as well as to the organization that will take it into account.
50 % of the success factors of a project are based on a well-established and communicated
project plan and all the elements mentioned above.
A project plan must be realistic, which does not mean to amplify the duration of the activities, but to understand
the necessary steps to complete a deliverable : For example, if the review and approval cycle of a deliverable is as long as the time to develop it, this should be reflected in the project plan. One way to do this would be to assign 80 % of the resources to the tasks of creation of deliverables and 20 % to the approval of these tasks. Other planning techniques will need to be evaluated as well; for example, if a deliverable requires 10 days of effort to complete a first version (before approval), it may be a good idea (to be assessed on a case-by-case basis) to consider making two deliveries in parallel of 10 days each over 20 days . The reason being is that there may be waiting times in response to questions or any other delay. These delays will have little or no impact if the team members can continue to
do productive work.
Finally, a tight management of the stakes linked to the daily performance of the members of the team are essential to the success of the delivery of the project. This daily task can not be underestimated and represents the other 50 % of the project’s chances of success. There are many other things to consider before, during and after closing a project (change management, profit measurement, etc.). However if the points mentioned in this article are implemented, the project manager will put all the chances on his side in order to obtain a quality delivery!