All projects, let alone management accounting projects, fail when they do not achieve the following keys to success:
- On time delivery
- On or under budget
- Include all aspects as promised
Project management surveys show that only a handful of projects ever accomplish all three. Most projects are implemented and fail one or more of these criteria, and shockingly a large number are completely canceled due to failures.
So what can a business manager – or any key decision maker – do to implement a successful project? They can avoid the reasons that projects often fail, some of which are listed below.
Lack of Training and Team Involvement
The lack of quality training and team involvement within a project is the number one reason a project fails. Without input and involvement from key users and decision makers, there will never be full buy-in from the organization. The employees and executives need to feel like part of the team and that their ideas and input matter. The more you have the users involved, the greater the probability of a successful project.
Training – quality training – is an absolute must. If users don’t understand the process flow and structure of the project, they will become frustrated and ultimately have negative results. Quality, in-depth training allows users to become comfortable with the project, encourage them to ask questions, and problem solve. Encourage ongoing training and make it readily available.
In an industry like management consulting, a successful project averages about three months to complete. If a project goes much longer or shorter than this average, there may be reason to worry. Projects may ultimately need to be split into separate phases so that the organization does not bite off more than it can chew. Weekly reporting and progress reports should be a necessity. If certain needs or changes arise then a change order needs to be submitted and due dates altered accordingly.
Business managers and controllers may often push for fast delivery, which, more times than not, end up in disaster. These delivery times are set without considering the volume of work necessary to ensure a successful project implementation.
Poor Project Scope
A scope document outlines who does what within the organization in terms of project tasks. Without this detailed and planned document, many organizations have found the “fly by the seat of your pants” technique to produce disastrous results. By sitting down and developing this scope document, organizations find structure and foundation around their project plan. This also allows the project to achieve the On Time, On Budget, and As Promised results that they are ultimately trying to achieve.
Within our organization – Asyma Solutions – we will not begin a project implementation until a proper scope document has been drafted and agreed upon by both parties.
Lack of Change Orders
Change can and should arise at least half a dozen times during a project. A project scope is never set in stone and should be expected to change as a project is in its design and implementation stage. If an organization were to go through the whole project with no change to the scope, warning bells should be ringing. Something was most likely missed along the way. As a project is implemented, new ideas and processes will arise, which is why these change orders are common in projects. Written documentation is developed and added or changed in the original scope document once agreed upon by both parties. Without this change, a system may be implemented that does not address all the issues the organization currently faces and maximum return on investment will not be realized, processes may lack ultimate efficiency, and staff acceptance may decrease.
Often, the solution’s developers will test the system during the development and do minimal training for the users who will ultimately use the solution. The go live date may be sacrificed by the pressure to have the system running as soon as possible.
This should never be the case. Users should always be in the system using real data – albeit in a “play” scenario – and getting quality training. The go live date will need to be adjusted depending on the comfort of the users. If they are not comfortable going live, make a change order for an extended go live date until they have had sufficient training and are confident in their ability to move forward.
These factors and key areas should always be taken into account no matter how small or how large a project is. Knowing what you are getting into in terms of the project’s size, resources needed, and availability of staff should all be outlined and accounted for beforehand. Taking the time to ensure every aspect of a project is planned and assigned will increase the success rate tenfold.
Want more information? Contact Asyma Solutions today.