Project Management Success Factors for 2015

As businesses charge into 2015, project management goals are likely top of mind. With the success of new initiatives often resting on effective practices, project managers need to prepare their organizations and teams to hit the ground running as they launch or advance strategic programs.

Here are factors likely to influence your project management success this year.

Strong alignment of projects to organizational strategy

Although this is not a new idea, it’s one that continues to gather momentum. Research supports the idea that projects and programs well-aligned with an organization’s strategy tend to add more value and have greater rates of successful completion.

Unfortunately, Project Management Institute research found 58 percent of projects are not strongly aligned strategically. Initiatives fail to meet goals for numerous reasons, but common themes include a lack of&nbsstrong leadership (from the project management office or senior executives), lack of clear articulation about a project’s connection to strategy, and staffing issues.

Staffing problems can often be addressed by maintaining a flexible staffing approach relying on a combination of full-time employees and highly skilled consultants and project professionals. Consultants can provide specialized expertise and support key initiatives when there is a shortage of time, skills or resources among existing staff.

Technology-aided collaboration

Technology is helping support the trend toward more collaborative and flexible “work anywhere” practices. Cloud-based solutions, in particular, that allow for greater input, transparency and accountability help team members take more of a self-organizing approach.

Not only do collaboration tools promote better project management, they also have a motivating effect on teams because individual members can see what their coworkers are doing and how they’re contributing toward a common goal. They also enable seamless interactions among colleagues working across multiple locations and time zones.

A project management culture

An ongoing emphasis on developing project management skills is critical to ensuring they become an organizational core competency. Project management offices and individuals tasked with these responsibilities should pursue ongoing training and development, including obtaining the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

Quest for greater agility

Project teams are being challenged to work with ever-greater speed and agility. They’re expected to keep pace with an often-volatile global economy and sudden shifts in customer demands and expectations.

The ability of project teams to respond quickly to unanticipated developments can mean the difference between whether a program is successful or not. Through collaborative tools and flexible processes, project managers need to empower teams to adapt to changes around them, even those that may require an abrupt change of course.

As project managers well know, successful initiatives are key to an organization’s ability to realize its strategic objectives. Likewise, as collaborative work practices become increasingly common, the ability of project managers to lead the way in helping their organizations establish effective practices will be integral to success in 2015 and beyond.

What do you feel are the keys to project management success in today's business environment?

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