So What Stops Projects – the Human Factor

Rhys Horton 21.06.2018

We are increasingly seeing new projects being set up with varying focus; technology, new regulatory requirements, new visions from the Exec’s, new products going to market or under the generalised bracket of Transformation.

The roadblocks or hurdles that you, as a project manager, a face can differ substantially and the defining factor that separates a good project manager from a great project manager is how you mitigate and plan for these risks. 

1. Communication

Whether this is breaking down the technical requirements into layman's terms, or the level of detail your business analyst gains, a breakdown in communication at all levels of management is a recipe for disaster. 

Clear, open, honest and effective communication can clearly eradicate these blockers and help keep the project running smoothly.

2. Resources

In a contract heavy market, one of the most common issues we hear from program managers is that their resources step off at a crucial stage. In an ideal world, project resources would retain a sense of loyalty and the desire to see their project through to completion. 

When recruiting for your team, look for candidates who have a proven track record of end to end delivery and ensure that they are motivated to deliver keys outcomes, really dig into the detail before hiring, you need the best at their best. 

3. Preparation

‘Failure to prepare is preparing to fail’ and in projects this is key. Do you now Clearly what your scope is? Is the budget defined? When is the completion date? Is this realistic?

These are questions you should be asking your key stakeholders, and if clear and achievable, document and track. Have the process outlined, problems escalated and risk’s mitigated. This may mean a few extra meeting’s in it’s infancy, but who doesn’t like an excuse for another coffee? This effort at the start will put you on a path to success.

4. Poor Leadership

Every leader works differently, and every person likes being managed differently. You have your own style, and so will others. Whether issues or results needs to be escalated up, treat them with the respect and courtesy you’d expect to be treated with. Get to know your people, lead from the front, treat your team with respect, honesty and be passionate about collaboration. Offer support, and ensure you are supported. These issues are easier to bring up early on than they are in the later stages of a project. 

5. Lack of governance

Without an agreed understanding of how the project should be run, there are no checks and governance to ensure the project is running on time and on budget. Tying in with the preparation piece, a lack of key milestones creates chaos. It also makes it more difficult to engage stakeholders. If no plan is scoped and agreed on, the chances of re-scoping at a crucial stage drastically increases.  

With these factors in mind, how do you create a foolproof plan to ensure successful delivery? Are these factors always avoidable? 

It would be great to get your feedback and understand the projects and challenges you’ve faced in your career. 

If you are looking for a new role within financial services or are interested in hearing in what the market is looking like please get in touch rhorton@morganmckinley.com.au 
 

Rhys Horton's picture
Senior Consultant | Project Delivery
rhorton@morganmckinley.com.au