Are your strategic projects likely to be successful?
Planned change is highly dependent on strong project execution. Deployment of a disciplined project process can help reduce project failure rates. Four key factors to focus on to improve success rates of projects are:
To increase the “stickiness” and likelihood of implementation of a plan, in addition to making sure to have a clear purpose, involving key stakeholders, setting reasonable targets and following up on plans, it is advised to “pressure test” the plans prior to approval to move forward – as part of an organised project planning process.
By asking and scoring answers to some very simple and yet very powerful questions and establishing an official approval process, robustness and implementation ability of the plans will increase. In fact, asking simple questions ahead of launch can dramatically increase likelihood of success since it front loads implementation issues that probably would have been discovered too late (e.g. “Do we have realistic targets?” or “Have we have clear sign-off from sponsor and stakeholders?”). The chosen readiness pressure tester questions should be customised to the overall company strategy and situation, and should include questions that ensure high likelihood of success.
Below is an example of a pressure test to be considered. When pressure testing plans – it is advisable to apply a binary approval approach, i.e. is the question fulfilled or not – no middle ground. Either the targets are realistic, or they are not, either the scope is clear or it is not, etc. In this way it becomes very clear how many/which of the plans that have the right prerequisites to succeed.