LSA Global Insights Newsletter: Project Health Check Is Your Project on Track?


Project Health Check Is Your Project on Track?

4 percentages: 100, 75, 50 and 25 representing project success measurement

Project management is both an art and a skill.  Effective project leaders are worth their weight in gold. Weak  project managers create unnecessary angst, waste and churn.

A recent project post mortem at one of our growing high tech clients reinforced that the best project managers consistently excel at simultaneously managing results and relationships while meeting or exceeding ever-changing stakeholder expectations. Are your project leaders and project teams:
  1. Getting high quality results?
  2. Forming and maintaining meaningful relationships?
  3. Setting and managing expectations?
Getting High Quality Project Results
The desired results of any project must be clearly understood at all times by the project team, the project sponsor, and all key internal and external stakeholders.  The more complex the project, the better the project team must be at dealing with the inevitable changes in direction, scope, resources and timing.  That means quickly understanding changes, communicating the implications and making wise decisions with those who matter most. 

Here are three warning signs that the desired results may not be as clear, believable or implementable as they need to be to set you and your team up for success:
  • The business rationale for the project is vague, tactical, debatable, or was created in a vacuum.
  • There is some ambiguity between customers, management, project managers, and the project team regarding what they want to accomplish and why.
  • While people generally know what the project is trying to accomplish, it is unclear specifically how the success of the project is ultimately to be measured.
Forming and Maintaining Meaningful Relationships
In this time of cross-functional, cross-cultural, and cross-global teams, relationships are the heart of getting project work done.  Because project teams are usually made up of people with different skills, backgrounds, agendas, assumptions, and reporting relationships, project leaders must be adept at influencing others to agree on goals, roles, processes and conflict resolution. Influencing a team requires solid preparation combined with a willingness to use a variety of leadership behaviors based upon the situation. 

Here are three warning signs that your relationships may not be as strong as you need them to be meet or exceed expectations:
  • It is unclear who all of the internal and external project stakeholders are and what they care most about.
  • Project team members or stakeholders' responsibilities and jobs are unclear, confusing, or shifting without explicit recalibration.
  • Formal and authoritative sponsorship of the project is unclear or in name only.
Setting and Managing Expectations 
Stakeholder satisfaction is directly correlated to how well you and your team set and manage expectations along the entire project life-cycle.  This is accomplished by proactively maintaining frequent and consistent communication with key stakeholders about project status, issues and satisfaction to-date.  Project team members need to know how and when to communicate any changes, decisions or issues. 

Here are four warning signs that you need to better manage expectations:
  • While communication occurs, there is no formal strategy or plan to ensure that information gets to the right people, at the right time in the right way.
  • Internal and external stakeholders are often confused regarding direction, decisions, coordination, status, or information.
  • Large or small changes are often implemented without going through a formal review process to determine the value or impact.
  • Tasks are not consistently or clearly measured to ensure that the team meets cost, quality and time success criteria.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned