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This chapter is from the book

Learning from Successful Projects

After reviewing what makes a project successful and the common ills that befall many "troubled" projects, you likely have a good sense of the qualities and traits shared by most successful projects. While no two projects are ever the same, and every project has its own unique set of challenges, there is a common core of principles that successful project share. By understanding these, a new project manager can better prioritize and better focus his/her project management efforts. These qualities are generally true about successful projects:

  • Project is aligned with organizational goals.

  • Project has effective management support.

  • Project has effective leadership.

  • All key stakeholders are in agreement on the purpose, goals, and objectives of the project.

  • All key stakeholders share a common vision on the project results.

  • All key stakeholders share realistic expectations for the project results.

  • The project results meet the expectations of the key stakeholders.

  • Stakeholder expectations are constantly managed and validated throughout the project.

  • There is an investment made in proper planning.

  • The project scope, approach, and deliverables are clearly defined and agreed upon during planning.

  • Each stakeholder and team member’s role(s) and responsibilities are clearly communicated and understood.

  • A high priority is placed on accurate and complete work effort estimates.

  • A realistic schedule is developed and agreed upon.

  • The project team has a strong results-focus and customer-orientation.

  • Project communications are consistent, effective, and focused on "understanding."

  • Project progress is measured consistently from the current baseline.

  • Project issues and subsequent action items are aggressively pursued.

  • There is a strong sense of collaboration and teamwork.

  • Expectations and changes surrounding scope, quality, schedule, and cost are closely managed.

  • Project resources are skilled and available when needed.

  • Project team proactively identifies risk and determines mitigation strategies to reduce project exposure.

  • Project team anticipates and overcomes obstacles to ensure project meets objectives.

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