In my twenty two years in the IT industry I’ve worked on over thirty projects!  I’ve seen my fair share of the “good”, the “bad”, and the “ugly”.  In this posting I’d like to talk about the “good”.  There were two particular projects I was on that I would consider to be very good, successful projects.  They were completed on time, on budget and delivered the necessary functionality to the user community.

What made these projects successful unlike others?  From my perspective, there were common denominators between the two projects that played an important role in the success of the projects.

  1. They both had strong executive sponsorship.  The project team knew that executive management had a keen interest in seeing a successful conclusion to the project.  That interest was communicated to the project manager and from the project manager to the project team.
  2. Very good project management was an important factor.  Both projects had projects managers that put together very good, detailed projects plans.  They then managed their projects using their project plan.  Project team members reported their time against specific project tasks.  This provided visibility to the project manager when timelines were in jeopardy of slipping and allowed the project manager to take corrective action.
  3. Good project communication played an important role in the success of the projects.  This communication came in the form of weekly status reports, regular team meetings, and special meetings during certain periods of the project (i.e.  multiple meetings per week during acceptance testing to address issues that needed to be resolved in a timely manner).
  4. Having the right individuals in the right roles, both on the client side and the consulting side.  This may sound like common sense but I’ve been on several projects where the client felt that specific individuals were indispensable on their regular job so put a junior resource or less qualified resource on the project.  There is a price to pay when this approach is taken.

The above are the most influential factors that I saw as significant agents in the success of these projects. I would really like to get your opinions on what factors you’ve seen throughout the years that make for a successful project. Also, feel free to share a “good” experience you’ve had while working on a project.

In my next posting I’ll touch on my experiences with the “bad” project.  I’m sure you all can relate to those experiences.  Come back and check it out!

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