On Project Success Factors – Heading straight towards the goal I

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 “To follow, without halt, one aim: There’s the secret of success.” (Anna Pavlova, a famous ballerina). Completely true of course. A project rarely fails due to one large incident or problem. More often they shift of course imperceptibly, in small steps. Each individual shift is of almost no consequence, the combination is a whole different story.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to experience that again for myself. I was a parttime project manager (“just an additional few hours of work, you know”), we implemented Microsoft Sharepoint (“we are an Oracle and Java company, but this seems to be the best product”), we went with the Beta-release (“it has so many features we need”), we did not adhere to standard functionality (“adding this is very easy, don’t worry”) and we did it iteratively (because we did not know where we were going ;-).

It never ceases to amaze me that everything we do right in our projects for our clients, we instantly forget when doing an internal project. Looking back there were at least five moment where pulling the plug would have been the best possible decision, but…you know: “we have come this far”. Our intra- and extranet our running succesfully now. It could have been much cheaper though.

Project Management is not something you just do, next to your regular job. That is an illusion: you miss any proactivity and you are reduced from running from one crisis to the next. That goes for customer and internal projects.

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