February 15, 2021

Project Success vs Failure: The Importance of Senior Executives

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Is Project Success or Failure Owned by Senior Executives?

Executives in an organisation set the business goals for the coming year or years. But it seems that organisations struggle to tangibly translate this back into actionable work items such as projects. And how does and organisation prioritise these projects?

The answers should centre around the economic impact of the project's delivery time on it's business value. An estimate of a project is determined by the IT Department and communicated back to the business. Project success is determined by the steps the team make to ensure each piece of the puzzle is in the right place.

So why are high rates of failure reported for software development projects? And why has executive management support been identified as a critical factor in avoiding such failure and achieving project success?

It is often communicated that the Project Manager, project management team or senior executive is responsible for project success.

These team members usually have the ability to anticipate potential project constraints based on their past experiences fulfilling certain critical success factors that must be met.

So how, as a Senior Executive, can you contribute to the success of critical projects in the business? 

  1. Articulate Business and Project Vision
    Among some of the main project management practices, communicating the business vision and how it translates to the project is one of the most important and useful for technical teams. Often they are involved in projects and don't understand how it contributes to the company vision. A meeting with the team to explain how this project fits into achieving business goals is all that is needed.
  2. Escalation Point
    Act as an escalation point for the Project Manager and assist in removing blockers to delivering the project, these could be approving resources, directing budgets and approving deliverables.
  3. Communication
    Communicate to C-Suite or CEO on project progress. Build the relationship with the Project Manager so that the communication is open and honest. Allow the team to be transparent in their communication on progress.
  4. Strategic Decision Making
    Changes in priority should come from the Sponsor (Executive), there may be shifts in business that the Project Manager is unaware of.
  5. Evaluate Project Progress
    Make sure you read the project progress reports so as to spot any lags or worrying items so that action can be taken early on, thus avoiding delivery delays. This is also where you can see if the Project Manager has a good handle on the project.

To conclude, it is very important for an Executive Sponsor to be involved and invested in the project progress from the beginning until successful project

completion. This will ensure that the project warning signs are picked up early and can then be mitigated. If you as an Executive are unsure how you go about this or how you get involved in a technical project or even what to look for in the reports, contact us today and we will assist in the analysis and guide you through the process.

Speak to a Software Development Specialist

If you would like to discuss a bespoke software development project, challenge or goal please book a 30 minute Clarity Call with us and we'll point you in the right direction (even if you chose not to work with us)

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