Project management

4 practical tips for long-term project success

Do you want to ensure the long-term success of your project? Find out here why you should rely on modern management, clear objectives and motivated teams.

Ensuring the success of a project is crucial to the overall success of your company. Smooth project completion guarantees the achievement of objectives and the satisfaction of your customers. The success of a project depends on various factors that need to be carefully considered. These include essential aspects such as effective time management, optimal utilisation of your resources and clear objectives. Cost control and risk management also play an important role in the realisation of your project goals.

As a project manager, you should be able to motivate your entire team and Involve all stakeholders. In this blog, you can find out how to ensure the success of your project in practice. We give you practical tips and focus on the key success factors for your projects.

What is project success? A definition

At Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon becomes a success as

"the result of economic activity, usually recorded or expressed in monetary terms; determined by income statement"

defined. Accordingly, project success generally refers to the successful completion of a project when the predefined goals and requirements have been achieved within the set time frame, budget and in compliance with quality standards. Effective communication, teamwork and the fulfilment of customer requirements are decisive factors here. Project success is often measured in terms of overall performance and added value for stakeholders.

Companies usually strive to increase or improve the value of the company, although this is not necessarily the case for every project. You should therefore ask yourself the following fundamental questions for every project:

- What contribution should the project make to the company?
- Does the project achieve the expected added value?
- Are all stakeholders in the project satisfied?

Basic success criteria - The magic triangle

In German-speaking countries in particular, the so-called magic triangle a common symbol for three essential factors in project management. These factors include time, cost and performance. The focus or success factor is located in the centre of the triangle. Changes to one of the variables require corresponding adjustments to the other two in order to maintain the integrity of the triangle. Your job as a project manager is to harmonise the three cornerstones of the magic triangle to ensure the best possible quality while meeting budget, deadlines and project specifications.

Magic triangle for your project success

Time: This dimension refers to the time planning and influences the coordination of the other two values. Time not only stands for the start and end date of your project, but also for Intermediate goals or significant milestones.

Costs: The cost dimension quantifies the financial expenses and the available resources. Budget for your entire project. A budget set before the start of the project should not be exceeded in order to ensure cost-effective project management.

Performance: The performance dimension summarises the desired results that should be achieved upon completion of your project. The goals should according to the SMART formula be structured and coordinated with all participants, decision-makers and stakeholders before the start of the project.

Various conflicts of objectives arise when factors change. Customer satisfaction and inadequate resource planning are often the causes of these conflicts. If the requirements of customers, clients or stakeholders change or one dimension becomes unbalanced, the following conflicts can arise:

Cost vs. time: An early deadline may require overtime or the recruitment of additional staff, which in turn increases costs.

Performance vs. time: If the desired service cannot be provided, either the deadline must be extended or the costs for additional personnel must be increased.

Cost vs. performance: With a reduced budget, time and performance must also be adjusted accordingly. This is the only way you can operate economically.

This emphasises the fundamental connection between these factors. Changes to one of the corners of the triangle have a direct impact on the other corners. Therefore, plan appropriate buffers for all values in order to keep the relationship and the triangle intact. Important: Clarify all factors before starting the project! A Precisely elaborated project plan allows you to keep the triangle balanced.

The relevance of the magic triangle is also emphasised by the Study "Macroeconomic measurement of project activity in Germany" by GPM German Association for Project Management. A differentiated analysis showed that projects are mainly considered successful in terms of quality, costs and adherence to deadlines.

However, the magic triangle does not include all the success factors for your projects. Because: The Association for Project Management (APM) found 2021 in their study "Conditions for project success" found that only 22 per cent of all projects are considered successful. The study surveyed 850 project managers from business and the public sector in the UK. The respondents identified five decisive factors for project success:

1. planning: The preliminary planning of the project is comprehensive and carefully thought out; regular and thorough progress monitoring is carried out. The project includes realistic schedules, active risk management and a downstream project review.

2. team composition: Experienced professionals who form a core project team have comprehensive competences. Other team members are also fully competent and demonstrate constructive behaviour that promotes the success of the project.

3. target definition: The overarching goal of the project is clearly specified and recognised by all stakeholders. It does not conflict with subordinate objectives. The project managers have a clear vision of the project results.

4. governance: The project clearly defines the management personnel, responsibilities, reporting channels and communication between all parties involved.

5. will to succeed: All project stakeholders are and remain committed to the success of the project. Any lack of commitment is recognised and addressed, with the project management inspiring others to get involved.

The results of the study show that the primary aim is to emphasise the importance of professional project management for project managers. However, the results are relevant for anyone who is interested or involved in the successful completion of projects. But what can you as a project manager actively do to ensure that your projects achieve the desired success?

4 practical tips for your project success

As a project manager, you know that every project has pitfalls and challenges. To help you face them calmly, we give you four practical tips for achieving successful results:

4 practical tips for your project success

Practical tip 1: Create a positive project environment

A positive project environment plays a crucial role in the success of your project. Ensure that resources are used effectively by using prioritisation, delegation and optimisation of workflows to minimise time and cost factors. However, the success of your project depends not only on resources and time, but also on a motivated project team. Motivate your team and encourage cooperation through recognition. This can be done both through verbal praise and small rewards. By recognising the individual strengths and achievements of each team member, your employees will feel valued and, above all, seen.

However, it is not only individual praise that is important, but also the promotion of a positive group dynamic. Team-building activities and regular meetings can help your team to get to know each other better and develop a sense of togetherness. Ultimately, your team is working together towards one goal: the successful completion of the project. Once you have successfully completed a project - especially if it was a lengthy and complex project for everyone involved - there is only one thing left for you and your team to do: Celebrate the project's success! This increases motivation for similar projects in the future and contributes to a positive working environment.

Practical tip 2: Continuously monitor the progress of the project

To ensure the success of your project, you should continuously keep an eye on its progress. Define specific criteria and metrics to track the progress of the project closely and make adjustments if necessary to achieve the goal on time and within budget. Benchmarking also allows you to compare with other similar projects or companies in order to identify strengths and weaknesses and apply successful practices. This allows you to maximise the success factors.

All relevant project data at a glance.

An important part of project management is also the early identification of risks in order to recognise and prevent potential problems. An early warning system can help to quickly recognise these risks before they become major difficulties. By implementing suitable software such as ZEP, you can ensure that your team stays on the right track. This allows you to maintain an overview at all times without obstacles jeopardising the success of your project. Continuous monitoring of project progress allows you to recognise changes and react to them quickly. By taking a proactive approach to potential risks, you can save time and money and ensure that your project is successful.

Practical tip 3: Carry out regular quality checks

Another important factor for the success of your project is the implementation of regular quality controls. This ensures that all defined criteria and standards are met and that you achieve your project goals. To do this, you corresponding standards and test procedures and apply them consistently. Systematic checks not only enable you to identify possible errors at an early stage, but also to uncover potential for optimisation. Successful quality control can also help to save costs and utilise resources more efficiently.

Plan projects with foresight & keep an eye on employee utilisation and upcoming tasks. With ZEP resource planning for efficient multi-project management

A well-functioning team and clear communication channels are just as important as continuous monitoring of your project. It is therefore advisable to take targeted quality assurance measures in order to make a significant contribution to the successful completion of your projects. This will ensure that your project meets the defined quality standards and can be successfully completed.

Practical tip 4: Document knowledge for long-term project success

A decisive success factor for projects is the systematic recording of experiences from past projects. Documenting knowledge and proven methods can help to make future projects more successful. This is not just about recording errors and problems, but also about the Identification of success criteria and proven methods. Effective knowledge management enables you to react more quickly to challenges and utilise resources, time and costs more efficiently. Your customers also benefit from this, as they receive high-quality results and your company presents itself as a reliable partner. By continuously learning from past successful projects, you can constantly improve your project management and ensure long-term success.

Another important factor in ensuring the success of a project is the transfer of knowledge. Training and mentoring programmes can help to share and expand expertise within your team. Targeted training measures can prepare your employees for new challenges and bring their knowledge up to date. A mentoring programme can also help to pass on experience and knowledge within the company. This not only promotes the personal development of employees and stronger team cohesion, but also the quality of the work results in the project.

To ensure a successful transfer of knowledge, these measures should be planned and implemented at an early stage. You should always keep an eye on costs and resources. A clear definition of criteria for training and a regular review of the success of these measures are crucial for the long-term success of your project. Effective knowledge management enables your team to react more quickly to changes and therefore achieve the project goal faster.

Efficient time recording ensures the success of your project

For effective project management, the Recording of working time plays a decisive role. However, this is only possible if all team members pull together. Clearly defined guidelines and transparent communication about your expectations are the first steps towards consistent project time recording. After all, in addition to pure attendance time, it is crucial for the success of your project to document both pending and completed tasks. This benefits your entire project team, as everyone involved can track the progress of the project, is aware of upcoming steps and responsibilities are clearly communicated and documented.

This increases transparency within your team and promotes confidence in the correct recording of working hours. In addition, regular status reports on project times have a motivating effect on the success of the project. In view of the complexity of projects and the challenges associated with them Software for project time recording - such as ZEP - increasingly important for the success of your project. ZEP not only ensures transparency in attendance times, work steps and successes, but also supports you effectively in budget planning and adherence. This makes the software an indispensable tool in project management and therefore also for the success of your project.

More than time recording. With ZEP to project success.

Tanja Hartmann CEP

Tanja Hartmann

Content Marketing Manager at ZEP

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