They say that success has many parents, while failure is an orphan. There is some truth to it, it is enough to check out Facebook comments to see that most of us are experts in every field there is and can express our opinion about the success of a finished project better than its actual creators. However, once something goes wrong, voices full of criticism arise and no one seems to want to take responsibility for failure. What to do in such a case to finish the project? Primarily – follow the proven schemes. Below we present five of the most important ones.
Each journey has a beginning
Whatever project we talk about, it consists of a few stages, points if you will, which have immense impact on its success. A project can be for example to provide the client with a cup of coffee in a coffee shop: it has to be properly prepared in order so that it meets the client’s needs and it also needs to be prepared so that its sale is profitable for the barista. The case is similar with other tasks which are to lead us to some purpose. This is why it is not important if we are creating a new website, sew clothes or even prepare a sandwich for a client in a restaurant: it is important to see each task as a certain path, which has its beginning and end. The beginning could be an idea for a new application or an order placed by the client, the end is the finalisation of the task.
Let us go back to those 5 most important points on the way to project’s success. They often seem very obvious, but unfortunately in many businesses we completely forget about them or neglect them a little and this may end up tragically.
5 steps to success
These 5 points described below are equally important – It cannot be that we will keep improving quality with disregard to melting budget or resources, but we also cannot drag the project forever in order to fine-tune the product even more. We will get back to that later.
- Schedule verification – meaning how long our project is to take, what are its stages and whether everything goes according to plan at any given moment. Why schedule is important? Let us come back to gastronomy: let us assume that to prepare a sandwich for a guest in the coffee shop takes about 7 minutes. During that time, it must be made and served. If we make it earlier it is economic for us and it helps us to prepare the next dish, if not – the next client may wait a bit longer for their own order. Naturally, it is a large simplification, but it looks like this more or less. If we are developing an application for the client, we have a deadline provided and must distribute and conduct work so as to finish a finished product before the set time. Thus, schedule helps to analyse at which stage we currently are, whether the milestones which we set for ourselves are being exceeded or whether we have any delays. Without a schedule, the entire work seems to be blindly going into things.
- Quality verification – we want our product to be of high quality. At the beginning of a project, we set what we pursue, what we expect and in what way we are going to meet the client’s needs. It is important for the final product we make, and even the prototype of it, to meet all assumptions. Gastronomy seems to be a good source of examples here as well: in a restaurant run by a close friend, venison burgers are served. Each burger is a specified portion of meet and additions. The burger restaurant’s high ratings are achieved, among other things, with high quality of burgers prepared by the kitchen. Quality control takes place on 3 workplaces: grill, where the meet is fried, during packaging, to see if all ingredients and sauces are property selected and their weight is appropriate. The last stage is aesthetic verification. Quite obviously – people eat with their eyes. This is why our project should be verified with respect to quality at several stages because it may turn out that mistakes which occurred at the beginning will translate into low quality at the end of the process.
- Budget verification – each project has a budget. These are resources, knowledge and, primarily, money, which we need to pay to our employees, contractors, suppliers, etc. We spend budget on materials, know-how, work, utilities, etc. Every project’s milestone should be a moment which we will devote to analyse if we fit into the assumed costs. Many programmes to manage projects have the option to verify this state of affairs and to inform the users about it. Exceeding the budget may mean that the project will not be finished if we do not acquire additional funding. On the other hand, if we are going to run projects according to lean methodology, we have much larger chances for not only fitting into the budget, but to save money as well.
- Team verification – people we will work with during the project have a great impact on success of the project. Jake Knapp presented a certain idea which shows what the project team should look like in project sprints described by him. This method works with every project because it allows optimal selection of people. The team should be composed of a decision maker, a financial expert, a marketing specialist, a customer service specialist, a logistics expert and a person responsible for design. Even such a minimalist team, composed of persons with narrow specialisations, allows efficient and deliberate work. This works because it is always possible to use knowledge of an expert at any given moment, who will advise or object and this is important in projects.
- Stock verification – stock is all tangible and intangible things which we will need to perform a task. In the above burger restaurant, it will be burger ingredients, in the developer team – software, knowledge, equipment, etc. When we decide to carry out an implementation, we need to make sure that we possess satisfactory amount of stock and that if we do not have the option to store we still have the option to constantly supply the stock, without undue delays. Why without undue delays? Because a few days of hold-up translates into losses may also lead to failure to meet the deadline.
Above we have presented 5 most important points which appear on the way to success of a project. They show the direction of activity and what is the most important for fast and efficient performance. If we remember about them, the chance of finishing the task on time and without unnecessary costs is much higher than when we do not follow the above rules. Blind action might just as well lead us to the finish line but at what cost?