Is Project Success or Failure Owned by Senior Executives?

Executives in an organisation set the business goals for the coming year or years. But it seems that organisations struggle to tangibly translate this back into actionable work items such as projects. And how does and organisation prioritise these projects?

The answers should centre around the economic impact of the project’s delivery time on it’s business value. An estimate of a project is determined by the IT Department and communicated back to the business.

So why are high rates of failure reported for software development projects? And why has executive management support been identified as a critical factor in avoiding such failure and achieving project success?

It is often communicated that the Project Manager is responsible for project success. So how, as a Senior Executive, can you contribute to the success of critical projects in the business? A project Sponsor (Executive) plays a huge role in the success of any software project and can apply the following practical tips to help the Project Team achieve their goals.

1. Articulate Business and Project Vision

Communicating the business vision and how it translates to the project is extremely useful for technical teams. Often they are involved in projects and don’t understand how it contributes to the company vision. A meeting with the team to explain how this project fits into achieving business goals is all that is needed.

2. Escalation Point

Act as an escalation point for the Project Manager and assist in removing blockers to delivering the project, these could be approving resources, directing budgets and approving deliverables.

3. Communication

Communicate to C-Suite or CEO on project progress. Build the relationship with the Project Manager so that the communication is open and honest. Allow the team to be transparent in their communication on progress.

4. Strategic Decision Making

Changes in priority should come from the Sponsor (Executive), there may be shifts in business that the Project Manager is unaware of.

5. Evaluate Project Progress

Make sure you read the project progress reports so as to spot any lags or worrying items so that action can be taken early on, thus avoiding delivery delays. This is also where you can see if the Project Manager has a good handle on the project.

To conclude, it is very important for an Executive Sponsor to be involved and invested in the project progress every step of the way. This will ensure that the project warning signs are picked up early and can then be mitigated. If you as an Executive are unsure how you go about this or how you get involved in a technical project or even what to look for in the reports, contact us today and we will assist in the analysis and guide you through the process.