Published: October 20th, 2017; By: Judi Hughes
There is one factor that business owners seldom consider as part of the success of their business growth … successful implementation of projects is the missing ingredient for business success.
Business owners often fail to realize that the successful growth of their business is dependent upon the successful implementation of projects within their business.
Think about it. Without projects your business will stay the same and go nowhere. In fact growing a business is all about projects.
Examples of projects:
- Implementing a new website
- Creating a new position on your team
- Installing new technology
- Developing a new product
These examples show the common characteristics of projects. They all have the word “new” in front. They all have a beginning, middle and end. They are all prone to many risks. To name just a few!
- Cost overruns
- Scope creep
- Unmet expectations
- Late delivery
One ingredient to bring greater success to projects within your business is to properly prepare yourself and your team.
The first step is to complete what we call the Strategic Focus Project Contract™. This ensures everyone involved (your team, outside vendors, etc.) is on the same page, understands exactly what the project is about and agrees on the scope.
A project contract should contain the following sections.
Give the project a name that resonates with everyone. This brings the project to life, aids in communication and adds a zing to the initiative. Make it fun and exciting!
Reason for the Project
Projects are undertaken because you need to fix something, you want to improve something and/or you have set a goal that can only be achieved by undertaking a project. Describe the reason for this project so everyone is aware of “why” the project is required.
This is about clarity. It explains what the project is about and ensures the team has a common understanding in order to minimize misunderstandings.
To ensure further clarification and avoidance of misunderstandings the team agrees on the desired outcome when the project is complete.
Scope – Includes/Excludes
To successfully manage scope creep the team agrees to what is included and what is excluded from the project. This is a painful and key element of the contract.
Although the project plan has not been developed at this stage there may be key milestone dates that everyone must be aware of. For example, if the project must be completed before year end it is noted here.
The names and roles of everyone involved in the project. Right from the beginning there needs to be a Project Owner who is keeping this project top of mind for the company; and a Project Manager.
If a budget has been approved include the details here. If it has not yet been approved then this will be an activity in the Project Plan.
Don’t cut corners!
You may think your project and your team are small so this contract is over kill. It isn’t!
If you want to increase the return on your investment of time and money and reap the benefits of successful implementation you need to do this step.
Careful preparation at the beginning of a project will never guarantee success but it will lessen the probability of failure. So take time to work through a project contract AND get everyone’s agreement on the content.