Top Ten Obstacles To Project Success


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The Top Ten Obstacles to Project success, and ways for management to mitigate them.

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  • Great presentation! But I think, number 10 "a skilled set challenged team" should be in the Top 5! I wrote an article about Top 7 hurdles in project management! Feel free to check it out :-)
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Top Ten Obstacles To Project Success

  1. 1. “ Top Ten” Countdown of Obstacles to Project Success and ways to mitigate them PRESENTED BY: Lou Gasco MüTō Performance Corp. [email_address] 212-842-0508 xt 3
  2. 2. Use of this presentation <ul><li>This presentation is intended for use by Project Management, Program Management, or Senior I.T. Leadership to understand the nature of the most common obstacles found by project managers on typical projects. </li></ul><ul><li>The presentation typically takes from 60 - 90 minutes to complete with Q&A, and depending on audience participation. </li></ul><ul><li>The content on this presentation is protected by copyright law. Any duplication of any part of this presentation requires the explicit authorization of MüTō Performance Corporation. </li></ul><ul><li>Upon completion of this presentation the audience will have a clearer understanding that; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>they are not alone in the project obstacles, or issues that they encounter on their projects. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>they understand that the resolution to these issues lies in their capability to; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>communicate clearly with team members </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>motivate their teams </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>hold their team mates accountable to tasks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the earlier these skill-sets are improved the lower the impact of these risks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The final slide shows a hint of the required skill sets. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To Contract MüTō Performance Corp. for a live presentation of this topic, contact; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lou Gasco </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>212-842-0508 xt 3 </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. data sources <ul><li>the question… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“What are the top obstacles project’s face to success?” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>answers from 1,000+ project managers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>various blogs, and forums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>class surveys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>life experience </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. format <ul><li>the “Top Ten” obstacles… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>rated from #10 - #1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>explanation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>symptoms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>potential mitigation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>we will be “P.C.” about it. </li></ul><ul><li>the Dilbert Principle </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Top Ten Obstacles to Project Success a countdown
  6. 6. #10. A skill set challenged team Explanation The team is unable to support the project from whole, or partial lack of technical skill-set. Symptoms - Code is completely redone from scratch. - Delivery dates are constantly moved as “new information” becomes available. - Team mates say, “I don’t know how to do this.” Potential Mitigation <ul><li>Open up communications; determine true skill-sets at the start. </li></ul><ul><li>Commit team to Roles, and Responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Get teammates the resources to learn as necessary. </li></ul>‘ I know we are supposed to be finished tomorrow, but we had a question… Did you say “Three” or “Tree”?’ a supplier to the project manager when construction was stalled due to a requirements question.
  7. 7. #9. Delegated responsibility unrelated to authority. Explanation Project manager (or team) lacks the authority to match their responsibility. Symptoms - The PM is taking minutes while someone else manages the project meetings. - Team mates constantly require approvals from their management to deliver on their responsibilities. Potential Mitigation <ul><li>- Open up communications through to management. </li></ul><ul><li>Commit team (and their management) to Roles, and Responsibilities </li></ul>“ You are only authorized to complete the project, for anything else, you have to get written approval, but I’m not sure from who.” Clear instructions on the modus operandum from the sponsor to the project manager
  8. 8. #8. Challenging schedule. Explanation The date for delivery of the project’s solution makes it difficult to deliver on time. Symptoms <ul><li>Date for delivery is set and the project is funded before any research/analysis work is completed. </li></ul><ul><li>Team members are saying “We don’t have enough time to deliver.” </li></ul>Potential Mitigation <ul><li>Open up communications with sponsors </li></ul><ul><li>Commit the team to effective analysis. </li></ul><ul><li>Befriend change management. </li></ul>“ The deadline for this project is Tuesday, January 11 th , because we started on November 1 st , and that makes it all One’s.” a sponsor to the project team
  9. 9. #7. Minimal or non-existent testing. Explanation The testing (Q&A) process is either non-existent, or reduced greatly beyond any planned duration. Symptoms <ul><li>Testing time is being shortened in order to make room for more development. </li></ul><ul><li>There are an excessive amount of bugs in Production. </li></ul>Potential Mitigation <ul><li>Commitment to testing time. </li></ul><ul><li>Clear communication of necessity of testing. </li></ul><ul><li>Timely mitigation of other pre-testing time consuming issues. </li></ul>“ We just saved 22% of the budget by cutting out QA, entirely. After all, we could test Monday morning in Production!” a Project Manager to his Sponsor with a rationale
  10. 10. #6. Tardy delivery of project tasks. Explanation Suppliers are not delivering their tasks on time. Symptoms <ul><li>Suppliers are saying “Yes, we’re on time…Everything’s fine.” with no validation. </li></ul><ul><li>A request for new information about the design in the midst of construction. </li></ul>Potential Mitigation <ul><li>Commitment to supplier delivery, roles, and responsibilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Clear communication of delivery dates, times. </li></ul><ul><li>Timely mitigation of supplier issues. </li></ul>“ No problem, we can have it for you by when you want it, mostly … I’m sure, give or take a few things, or a week, maybe.” a Supplier, guaranteeing delivery to the Project Manager
  11. 11. #5. The resource challenge Explanation Not enough resources to complete the project as desired. Symptoms <ul><li>The sponsor says “We all have to do more with less.” </li></ul><ul><li>The plan by design, requires everyone to work overtime, all the time, until completion. </li></ul>Potential Mitigation <ul><li>Clear communication of resource requirements to sponsor. </li></ul><ul><li>Clear communication of risks created (and their mitigation.) </li></ul><ul><li>Proactive planning of mitigation to risks. </li></ul>“ If everybody stayed in the office, worked around the clock, took no breaks, and stopped everything else we could finish the job by this Tuesday.” A Project Manager to his sponsor when asked to do more with less.
  12. 12. #4. The finance challenge Explanation Not enough funding to complete the project as desired. Symptoms <ul><li>The sponsor says “We all have to do more with less.” </li></ul><ul><li>No one is following up on the project’s budget/cost analysis. </li></ul>Potential Mitigation <ul><li>Clear communication of funding requirements to sponsor. </li></ul><ul><li>Clear communication of risks created (and their mitigation.) </li></ul><ul><li>Proactive planning of mitigation to risks. </li></ul>“ Don’t worry about the budget, we have no budget, just do the project, we’ll figure it out after.” A Sponsor to the project manager after being told, they had no budget code.
  13. 13. #3. A disappearing sponsor. Explanation The sponsor cannot be reached. Symptoms <ul><li>Critical decisions on the project are delayed, because the sponsor can’t be found. </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsor says, “You go ahead and approve it, I’ll back it when the time comes.” </li></ul>Potential Mitigation <ul><li>Clear accountability of roles and responsibilities (w/ sponsor.) </li></ul><ul><li>Proactive mitigation of risks that may result. </li></ul>“ I never actually gave you permission to go ahead with the project.” The sponsor to the project manager, when asked to mediate a situation with another team.
  14. 14. #2. Invisible requirements. Explanation The project has a ‘goal’, but no finalized requirements. Symptoms <ul><li>“ The team should know what is needed.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Look, we wrote down what we need, what more do you want?” </li></ul>Potential Mitigation <ul><li>Clear accountability of roles and responsibilities (w/ beneficiaries.) </li></ul><ul><li>Proactive mitigation of risks that may result. </li></ul>“ Well, if you are not going to be constructive we’ll just have to replace you.” a sponsor to a project lead, when the lead asked “What are we doing?”
  15. 15. #1. Spontaneous requirements. Explanation Scope creep. Symptoms - “We have a change control.” - “Say…while we are doing that…why don’t we do this other thing too?” Potential Mitigation <ul><li>Clear communication of the project requirements/goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Proactive mitigation of risks that may result. </li></ul>“ Since we have the patient open, why don’t we also remove the appendix, he’s not using it, is he?” a surgeon who is no longer practicing.
  16. 16. One final thought… Success is not by chance.
  17. 17. summary <ul><li>Communicate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do everything humanly possible to communicate clearly. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do nothing that blocks or confuses communication. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Motivate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  Happy , productive team-mate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keep them happy (ask them how.) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  Sad , upset team-mate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Get them happy (ask them how.) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  Apathetic , uncaring team-mate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Get them talking (get to know them.) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Hold Accountability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have a plan “B”, for every agreement. </li></ul></ul>What’s your team’s temperature? Do you? Who are you attempting to communicate with, and how do they perceive you?