Having executed and helped turn around multiple projects under stress, the following are few common themes which I have seen resulting in projects getting into stress. Even though they are common sense and simple things, quiet often they are overlooked by the project team.
Once it is determined that the current organizational capabilities are not sufficient to execute and deliver a project successfully, organizations need to procure the required capabilities from the vendors. This process involves vendor selection including solicitation of information from vendors like their capabilities, references, cost etc, shortlisting of vendor(s) and having a contract with vendor(s) to provide the capabilities. During the process the symptoms which highlight risks can vary based on the specific capability being procured. We will look at some of the common risk symptoms not related to the capabilities being procured that can impact the project success.
Once a project is selected, a project manager is assigned to execute and deliver the business value. The project manager may or may not be involved in the project selection process like in the case of a service provider organization, the the project manager may not have been involved in the sales cycle of getting the project. There are many risk items which can be overlooked at this phase which can lead to a project failure. Assigning a project manager who doesn’t have the skills required for the project is a major one.
Having set the stage for the importance of risk management as the key to project success, lets look at the different phases of a project and the risks involved in each. Projects as a temporary endeavor are undertaken to fulfill a vision or an idea. Selection of a project to execute is commonly viewed as the start of a project and so is the start of risk mitigation. Some of the areas of risks during this phase are
Mitigating risk to an acceptable level during the course of a project will lead to a successful project. What it means is to be aware of the potential risks and be prepared for remedial actions if the risks occur. Time and time again there are few simple common characteristics shown by successful project leaders.