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Is Project Planning The Same It Was 20 Years Ago?
August 29, 2016 by Anna-Kati Pahker
A lot of literature on project management has been focusing on the importance of scheduling to make a project to succeed. You probably already know that it's not all there is to it. Don't get us wrong, being a resource planning software, we think it's really important to schedule. And according to an old but still relevant article by Belassi and Tukel, it was important 20 years ago, too. However, they found other five factor which affects projects' success across industries, and we thought we should share them with you.
For each it' s own
Firstly, it's important to note that not all industries and companies play by the same rules. The factors influencing the success rate of projects were actually the same across industries. However, these factors had different levels of importance for each. Which we thought is kind of comforting to know. A construction project manager had to have the same factors in mind as an environmental activist. We think it hasn't really changed. Although there are whole new industries, aspects of a project are still the same. Don't you agree?
Resources, Resources, Resources
Getting to the actual factors, we found that in four out of six industries, availability of resources ruled the charts according to Belassi and Tukel. And we are lucky because if that hasn't changed, this is where Ganttic can really help you out. If you have all of your company's project managers using Ganttic, you will know exactly how your resources are distributed across your projects, and you will know how much time your project will take with the resources available to you. Using Ganttic or other similar project management software will definitely help you with being too optimistic about the resources you will have or the time it will take to complete a project. If you are working in defense, utilities, environmental or manufacturing - know the status of your resources. However, if you work in construction or MIS, it was the third most important factor to keep your mind on. Taking into account our constantly growing number of users, we are going out on a limb here, and say that available resources are still relevant.
You got to be Supportive
For there on, it got a little bit more complicated. From the research of Belassi and Tukel, top management support rated the most important factor for a project to succeed in construction and MIS. Although it was rated second in utilities and manufacturing, and third in environmental and defense. Here it's important to remember that top management support can't be just something you say is there, it has to be a continuous process. And that definitely haven't changed.
You are What Makes a Project
Every project really has it's project manager's face, and it seems like it's been that way since the beginning of projects. Even more so, if you work in construction, defense or environmental where project manager's performance was the second most important factor that influences project's success. However it was the fourth most important factor in utilities and manufacturing, and fifth in MIS. What makes a project manager that performs well in our mind is a project manager with a clear vision, and plans that other's can easily follow. It's when your plans aren't organized well enough, that things go south. So plan ahead. Share your plans. Be clear. If you live by that mantra, you would have been a good project manager 20 years ago, and will be a good project manager 20 years from now.
Estimate Before you act
This might come as a surprise for those who are working in construction but preliminary estimates weren't the most important factor for a project to succeed in your industry. Preliminary estimates were actually the fourth most important factor in construction as well as in defense, MIS, and utilities. It was the third for manufacturing, and fifth for you guys at environmental. Although an ability to estimate comes with experience, resource management software is again something that can help you out. For example, you can use Ganttic's reports to track budget, and of course, you will see the layout of your resources across the projects. So if you don't have a lot of experiences with preliminary estimations, use all the help you can get. If you have the experiences, use the help anyway to make your life a bit easier. That's surely something you have on the guys working as project managers 20 years ago.
Don't Forget the Other Side
When managing a project, you can't forget the one's you are managing it for. Your clients. If you are working in MIS, know that consulting with clients was the most important factor in your project's success. However, it was the second one in utilities, third in environmental, and fifth construction, defense, and manufacturing. Even when it's the fifth factor in your field, keep in mind that these are the five most important things. There isn't one in here that you don't have to pay any attention to. There isn't now, and there wasn't then.
These are the main factors influencing projects' success described by Belassi and Tukel about 20 years ago. Since the world has changed a lot during that time, we would love to read your thought on it. Are these factors still relevant? Do you share our thoughts on it? Is project management still the same or is it something entirely different?