7 Keys To Guarantee Project Success
Management may want to contract projects to external vendors for different reasons. Maybe it wants to gain operational efficiencies. Maybe it wants to gain additional expertise. Or, maybe it just wants to increase management focus on core functions. Whatever the reason, the only thing that really matters—at least as far as you’re concerned—is whether the project succeeds.
If it does, you’re a hero. If it doesn’t, well……
If responsibility of a project falls squarely on your shoulders, you want to be up for the challenge. So what can you do to guarantee your project’s success?
Each project is unique. And each has its own keys to success. But some keys are common to all successful projects.
Seven of them are described below. Incorporating them in your project guarantees success.
1. Set clear objectives
Setting clear objectives is paramount. Everyone needs to know what success means. The project’s objectives could be reduced costs, improved services, increased customer satisfaction, or the freeing up of management resources. Whatever the objectives, make sure you spell them out clearly
2. Define the scope
In addition to setting clear objectives, you also need to define the project’s scope. Providers need to know exactly what’s expected of them before they can develop a solution for you and price it correctly.
3. Put metrics in place
Among the top reasons for success is having well-defined metrics. Ideally, you should complete this process before embarking on a provider search. If you can’t define the appropriate measurements, how can a provider meet or exceed expectations.
4. Share the risk and rewards
It’s easy to share just the risk with a provider. But you also need to the share the rewards. If the project is going well and you’re meeting your goals, let the provider know. By the same token, if the provider fails to meet the project’s metrics, impose a penalty financially or otherwise.
5. Deliver quality
Delivering quality is the key to customer satisfaction—especially when managing tech support. Be specific what determines quality. To reinforce the quality aspect of delivery, use a metric that measures the number of requests for service reopened with the same problem.
Action Point: Develop a set of metrics that define quality. Make sure it includes one that measures the number of requests for service reopened with the same problem.
6. Hire for scalability
Savvy managers choose a provider based on expertise, quality, price, and scalability. Your provider needs to be able to handle your growth, so look at its ability to scale. Can it respond to your needs if you require it?
7. Deliver cost predictability
Costs usually vary depending on the project. But in general you want to nail down the costs as accurately as you can. That way no one gets surprised. Any contract you develop should be clear about things like transition expenses, termination costs, and price adjustment mechanisms, if required.
Bonus: Build in process controls
You want to build in process controls when negotiating the contract. Ideally, you want to have control over the essentials, including key personnel assigned to the project, methodology of providing the service (e.g. work practices and procedures), and the use of technology.
One last key is to develop an exit strategy. Make sure any contract you develop stipulates what will happen in the event of the provider’s termination. To assure the continuity of services following a termination, require the provider to assist in transitioning to a new provider or back in-house.
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