Best Practices for an Effective Project Implementation System
“Project – planned set of interrelated tasks to be executed over a fixed period and within certain costs and limitations”
During the 1960 to 1980s, success was determined in a project if it met the criteria based on time, cost, and specification and to some extent, client satisfaction. Take for example, the Sydney Opera House, once construction was done, the Sydney Opera House was praised for its architectural marvel and was considered by some as a success, however, from a project management POV, it was considered a failure, as it took 15 years to build, and was 14 times over budget. Today, project management and implementation is embraced by organizations across all sectors, and in all departments. It is everyone’s responsibility to see a project through from its inception to its implementation. However, in a realistic project management situation, not all cogs work effectively to run the machine, hence the breakdown of projects and in AGF Consulting Groups experience, leads to the delay in ISO Implementation for a client.
In a recent survey conducted by AGF Consulting Group, 8/10 projects are delayed due to project management and implementation issues. Furthermore, out of those clients that are on-hold, 6% are at risk of breaking down due to non-continuance and non-committal.
Based on research, below are 3 reasons projects are not being implemented within the agreed timeframe.
- Lack of Client Input
Lack of client involvement has proved fatal for many projects. Without client involvement, nobody in the business feels committed to a system, and can even be hostile to it. If a project is to be a success, senior management and other personnel need to be involved from the start and continuously throughout the development. This requires time and effort, and when the people in a business are already stretched, finding time for a new project is not high on their priorities. Therefore senior management needs to continuously support the project to make it clear to staff it is a priority. Additionally, as AGF Consultants, we are here to guide you in every step of the way. However, in order for the implementation to be successful, input is a two-way street and communication between client and consultants is key.
- Lack of Executive Support
As mentioned earlier, senior management’s participation in ISO Implementation is a must-do. If senior management is not actively involved in a project, that project is doomed for fail. How so? Because people disagree in projects. Requirements need to be prioritized. Hard decisions need to be made. If there is no senior management person to decide, then who will? Senior management must show leadership and commitment by spending the time it takes to plan, set goals and strategies, prior to embarking on projects. Managers must be bold enough to contribute and give feedback when expectations are unrealistic. In doing so, team members will get on board once projects have begun and task assignments have been communicated, ensuring a team effort towards ISO Certification.
“Senior management must show leadership and commitment by spending the time it takes to plan, set goals and strategies, prior to embarking on projects”
- Lack of Resources
Over time, we have received feedback from clients, wherein they choose to hold ISO accreditation until further notice due to lack of funds or personnel. While we will always complain of the lack of resources given to any project, at some point, this shortage does indeed prevent us from meeting our goal of ISO implementation. This shortage may be due to lack of adherence to the initial project estimates and commitments or due to some organizational changes that result in budget cuts, more urgent need for the project deliverables, or availability of project team members. This may also be caused by lack of commitment from the senior managers in making their staff available for the project, providing individuals without experience, or providing individuals without the appropriate skill set.
So what would it take for an organization to achieve a smooth end to end result? Here are 5 key points you may follow in ensuring your ISO implementation and accreditation become successful.
- Be Involved
As mentioned earlier, one of the key reasons in project failure is due to the lack of client input and commitment. AGF Consultants are “on-call”. That being said, we are here to assist you in any way we can to ensure your ISO Implementation gets carried out from beginning to end, but again, we cannot do it on our own. We would need your input and a line of constant communication on how you want to go about certain things and for us to understand what you need. Simply leaving things to us cannot be. By coordination between clients and consultants, you are effectively ensuring that your ISO implementation goes smoother and faster, all while meeting your objectives along the way. Again, communication is crucial.
- Executive Management Support
Lack of management support carries a domino effect in implementing a project. By not supporting a project, resources diminish, personnel employed for the project lack training and lose morale, and ultimately, no one will care. If management is to effectively support ISO Implementation, they can support so, by doing two key things –
- Senior management need to understand their role in driving the project, and in selling it to the wider organization
- Senior management need to support the project by providing the necessary resources (funds, personnel, training)
Senior management cannot delegate accountability. They are the ones that can ultimately set direction, ensure that it is being followed, and commit resources to achieve it. They can delegate the actions and in doing so accept the consequences if their vision is not followed. This trust must, on occasion, be verified and validated against the changing winds of the business climate. Failure to do so will produce projects devoid of value.
- Proper Planning
Planning is key in any project. In the absence of planning all the business activities of the organization will become meaningless. Planning should include, realistic objectives, resource management, (which includes, funds, personnel and a timeline for your ISO implementation and accreditation), and of course, the method as to how you will go on about your project. When in doubt, follow these guidelines of planning and ask the following questions –
- Initiate – “What objective do we want to achieve?”, “Is there funding?”, “When is the project due?”
- Plan – “What are the requirements?”, “What is the timeline to complete the activities?”, “Which resources do we need to assign?”
- Execute – “Are we following the manual as it was defined?”
- Monitor/Control – “Are deadlines being met?”, “Are we within budget?”, “If a change is needed how will it be addressed?”
- Close – “Did we meet our stated objective?”, “Did the project complete on time and on budget?”, “Do we need to document lessons learned for similar projects in the future?”
Under the process of planning the objectives of the organization are defined in simple and clear words. The obvious outcome of this is that all the employees get a direction and all their efforts are focused towards a particular end while potentially reducing overlaps and wasteful activities. In this way, planning has an important role in the attainment of the objectives of the organization.
“The obvious outcome of proper planning is that all the employees get a direction and all their efforts are focused towards a particular end while potentially reducing overlaps and wasteful activities.”
- Clear Statement of Requirements and Realistic Expectations
Make sure you set expectations correctly at the outset of the project and clearly define what is in and out of scope. By letting the consultant know beforehand what your organization is expecting during the different phases of implementation, in turn, it will make the consultants job easier in terms of planning and scheduling around your accreditation. Avoid “scope-creeping”, a practice of extending the scope of objectives without notifying any parties.
Taking ownership means you hold yourself accountable for your actions and how you do your job. Ask yourself, “What can I do to improve results?” Whether you are a sole contributor or a team leader, back up your actions with commitment and keeping your word. Being ISO certified is something to be proud of, especially if you are a member during inception. By taking ownership, you are showing that you are proud and have belief in your organization in achieving success by serving quality products or services to your clients.
“By taking ownership, you are showing that you are proud and have belief in your organization in achieving success by serving quality products or services to your clients.”
Remember, project implementation requires a team effort. Everyone involved in the project implementation, from the staff to executive management must invest time, effort and resources in order for the project to be delivered on time, on budget and within your specified objectives.
At AGF Consulting Group, rest assured, we’ll do our part and more to help you attain your ISO Accreditation. For more information on our services, visit us at https://www.agfconsultinggroup.com or contact us at (032) 254-7892 / 419-9599.
Need Improvement on your Project Management Skills?
Making project management an overall part of your corporate training curriculum helps reinforce a common understanding of project management terminology and techniques that will help build collaboration and improve project performance. Employees in every division, department, and functional role can benefit from learning and using some fundamental project management practices.
Sample flyers of the many trainings we offer at AGF Consulting Group:
Project Management Excellence –
View our extensive selection of courses at www.agfconsultinggroup.com for more information.
Pinto &Slevin. 1987. Critical Success Factors in Effective Project Implementation. PM Handbook. 2ndEdition.
The Standish Group. 2014. The Standish Group Report – Chaos.
PM College. 2014. Project Management – Not Just for Project Managers White Paper.
Project Management Institute. 2014. The Project Management Office – Aligning Strategy and Implementation.
Jugdev& Muller. 2005. A Retrospective Look at Our Evolving Understanding of Project Success. PM Journal
Davies. 2002. The Real Success Factors on Projects. IJPM
Dunna&Burella. 2008. Success Factors for Effective Implementation of Project Controls in Contracting Companies, A Qualitative Study.