Project success: collaboration is the only credible way forward

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In a ‘first of its type’ event for APM, breakfast with 17 industry leaders in the PPM world tested the latest APM research on Conditions for Project Success as a part of our journey to APM’s vision statement: ‘A world in which all projects succeed’.

It was very interesting to see how closely APM’s independent research aligned with, and developed further, the findings of NAO Reports of December 2011 on Initiating Successful Projects and of Oct 2014 on Lessons from Major Rail Infrastructure Programmes. APM Research identified the ‘top 5’ as: Thoroughly prepared Project planning and review; Clear goals and objectives; Effective governance; Competent project teams; and Enduring stakeholder Commitment to Project Success.

The three most striking aspects of the discussion (for me) were: A. It is all about the people – their competence/professionalism and behaviours; B. In the increasingly complex world of PPM (scope, environment and technology), collaboration is the only credible way forward; and C. Client and delivery teams are dependent on one another’s clarity and competence of roles and responsibilities for success. 

The final point is a real issue. A lot of talk around the table focused on removing ambiguity and uncertainty upfront, particularly on the client side. The general feeling was that we need a more integrated approach to better inform and embolden clients to listen and act (early on). In other words: the continuum between the client, project manager and project management and how we build a single community around that.

So where next? Has the research report got it right? And, if so, how do we learn from this experience and what should be our priorities for taking this forward? In the wake of the Olympics and (emerging success) ‘mega programmes’ such as Crossrail and Thames Tideway Tunnels, the capturing and sharing of these and other successes presents us with some ambitious challenges. 

But project management is a pan-sector competence area and we must not limit ourselves to one story – or one sector only.

 

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