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Projects consistently running late or over budget? 3 tips to improve project management!

Projects consistently running late or over budget? 3 tips to improve project management!

In order for projects to be completed successfully on time and within budget, you need to shift from the mindset and practice of individual ownership and accountability to one of shared ownership and accountability. 

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the phrase “our projects consistently run late, aren’t properly resourced, and are over budget” I could retire early.  It’s a common problem. Most organizations have issues with getting projects to completion on time and on budget. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Projects are rarely executed in a vacuum. Projects are rarely executed by one person, one team, or one department. Project deliverables usually impact more than one group. Project scope and resourcing have larger organizational impacts for the employee experience and customer experience. Successful project management and implementation requires a collective mindset. It requires an outcome-driven mindset and collective team habits of execution.  There are solutions to help you resolve these project issues and transition to a better future. A future where your projects can be achieved on budget and on time. A future where you can meet revenue and performance goals and improve your employee and customer experience. Many organizations have lots of projects occurring right now and many are due to unplanned changes COVID-19 has forced businesses to make while transitioning to a “new normal.”  And that catalyst for improvement can be a good thing and drive long-term success. It just takes a process – and commitment – to transforming old behaviors, removing silos, and changing mindsets. And before you think, oh is that all? We have enough to deal with now.  Yes, I know. It’s a hectic time. However, while creating your “new normal,” take the time to deal with the things that are preventing your projects from being completed on time and within budget in ways that guarantee long term improvements. You’ll set yourself up for a better future.

Here is how you do it: 

Create a Picture of Success for your project

Before creating your project plan and defining scope, you first need to define what are the desired outcomes of the project, expected benefits, and anticipated ROI. What does success look like? You need to develop a team Picture of Success inclusive of external factors impacting achieving your business goals and project success. You need to identify and include the external drivers, challenges, and constraints for your business. Yes, you may not have much control over these things. However, they are non-negotiables that impact your future success and can’t be ignored. This shouldn’t be done by just one leader. Or by one team. Or by one department, such as the Project Management Office (PMO.) The Picture of Success is developed and agreed to by the entire cross-functional team who will have responsibility and accountability for success. Often this group is referred to as the Senior Leadership Team, the Executive Leadership Team, or similar. Whatever they’re called, they are the group of people responsible for leading and managing the project to success. Rapid results can’t occur in a vacuum. When the Picture of Success is complete, you have a detailed and actionable picture of your ideal future that was created by input from members representing all impacted stakeholders. 

Adopt new habits and behaviors and align your team

Projects mean change. Change is hard. Project execution isn’t always easy. Completing projects successfully on time and on budget takes more than a Picture of Success. It takes targeted and aligned effort. You must define, agree on, align, and test team behaviors and habits in supporting and achieving your Picture of Success. These team habits of Collective Execution are the missing link for creating predictable, measurable, breakthrough results. Rapid results require having teams aligned, agreed on outcomes, and accountable for developing and supporting new habits and behaviors that support achieving project, and business success. You should also develop proactive Recovery Plans to surface and resolve breakdowns quickly and course-correct and adjust as needed as a team. This creates shared ownership for change and project success.

Create shared ownership and accountability

Ever hear the phrase ‘it takes a village?’ Well, when it comes to consistently achieving project success, it takes a village – entire cross-functional teams – to achieve this on a regular basis. Team alignment and defined and agreed to team habits of Collective Execution increase communication, trust, and accountability. This increases the ability of the team to more rapidly and consistently achieve revenue and performance goals. Shared ownership is supported by Project Ownership Plans and Team Relationship Agreements, as needed. These Project Ownership Plans and outcome focused meetings allow leaders to become barrier-busters, problem-solvers, and decision makers, rather than arm-chair project managers. Team meetings focus on outcomes and execution and not spin and churn. Shared ownership provides all team members a voice and supports them in holding each other accountable. And shared ownership reduces silos supporting more rapid results.  Interested in learning more about how to keep your projects from running late or over budget? Want to rapidly achieve your performance and revenue goals? Need to develop a clear road map from Point A to Point B? Contact us to learn more Don’t waste your time and energy being stressed and scrambling. Focus on outcomes and team habits of collective execution. Our solutions support more rapid and consistent project and business success. Contact us to learn more.  Or you can read about us here, here, and here   About Scott Span, MSOD, CSM: is CEO at Tolero Solutions. As a people strategist, leadership coach, and change and transformation specialist, his work is focused on people. Through his consulting and training work he supports clients to survive and thrive through change and transition and create people-focused cultures and a great employee experience. Through his coaching work, he supports people willing to dig deeper to identify and overcome what’s holding them back, change behaviors, accelerate performance and achieve their goals. Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog FacebookYouTube | Instagram *All Rights Reserved. Reproduction, publication, and all other use of any and all of this content is prohibited without the authorized consent of Tolero Solutions and the author.