What Makes a Project Successful?

We all measure success differently. Some measure success by how much money they make, or what position they hold, or merely the ability to make a difference each day. This could mean becoming a manager or vice president, making six figures a year, or working or educating children, volunteering and managing a charitable event, or even making a customer happy. What do project managers think makes a project successful?

Project managers often define success by how smoothly a project goes, how efficient a team performs on a particular project, or even how happy the customer is with the outcome of the project or product. Here are some areas that are necessary and crucial for a project’s success:

  • Communication. Communication is one of the most crucial areas of a project, as well as any relationship—professional or personal. It’s important for teams to practice efficient and open communication in order to make sure all project specifications, special account instructions, and even any changes that may arise regarding project specs, milestones, budgets, and schedules. Keeping everyone involved with the project and on the same page is key.This could mean having team meetings or conference calls on a regular basis, sending out emails, sharing documents and other project memos, etc. Project managers and teams can get creative on how to best communicate effectively and efficiently in ways that work for everyone.
  • Confidence. Another crucial area that directly relates to project success is confidence. Teams that boast confidence easily achieve success. It’s not about which teams can do the most projects, or all about which teams generate the most project revenue for the organization. Although these factors are certainly important, particularly for the organization’s success, it basically comes down to how well teams know their jobs, know the customers, and know the best ways to go about projects. With confidence also come positive attitudes.
  • Challenges. This might seem hypocritical, but encountering and overcoming challenges can lead to a project’s success. This helps teams grow stronger, learn different skills, and even expand their experience in dealing with different project specs, different accounts and customers, and different issues that come up and need to be managed.Certainly challenges may be overwhelming and scary to deal with, but can certainly impact a team’s ability to grow and develop. Overcoming challenges is also interrelated with success in that reaching success and conquering challenges impacts team confidence.

Finally, many professionals define success differently. So how is project success measured? Is it measured by how many projects teams do in a year? Is it the amount of revenue generated from those projects? Or is it how well teams work together, grow, and overcome challenges?

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