How to success in project planning?


Successful project must have a strategy. It must have a clear target, a plan how to get there and communication which support reaching the target. It’s not a new idea to involve all needed stakeholders already from the project kick off, even before the official kick off meeting in preparation and planning process. It’s important to start selecting correct people for project team; when it’s decided to go on with initial project idea, you already know who you want to execute needed steps, tasks.


According to PMI only 28 percent of companies use performance techniques to follow structured planning and goal setting for projects. 


If you have more structured way to plan, start and execute project, it will certainly help to reach objectives, keep stakeholders happy and make changes whenever it is needed and immediate actions can be done smoothly, managed way.  To always know how close you’re to complete your project and what’s the status for budget and schedule, you can use Earned value management.


Another interesting fact comes from Wrike: Only 64 percent of projects meet their goals. 


Project teams need training, experience and empowerment to make them more successful. Meeting the goals is sometimes difficult because of changed requirements or unclear plan in going to same target. Some cases it’s a question of competing projects inside the company. It needs a more strategic way to do projects, project portfolio management, connection between enterprise objectives and individual project goals.


IT project failures are known by all of us who work in the area. Not so known fact about IT project failures comes from Calleam: 17 percent of IT projects fail so badly they can threaten the existence of a company. 


This is extremely dangerous and should wake up top level. It’s not so difficult to setup status reporting and KPIs to be able to follow all projects. Again, project portfolio management is a great tool for every organization. A good way inside company is use structure method for project portfolio management, such as Balanced scorecard in reporting or other tool which has more than one or two dimensions to follow success.


Proven steps for becoming next generation project manager

1. Learn how to use Earned Value Management

You can follow scope/earned value to know how much has been already gained during project

You will see schedule performance to estimate if something is going too slow or fast

Cost and Schedule Performance Indicators are comparable within program or project portfolio

2. Empowering the team

Know what each team member can decide by themselves

Save time by reducing bureaucracy

3. Take Balance Scorecard into your toolbox

Four dimensions financial, internal, customer and learning and growth

Each of the perspective have separate KPIs

You can compare different programs or projects with same KPIs and take actions, objectives to enterprise strategy when needed or learned something good from one.


If you liked this article, you may take a look at my Strategic Project Management course. How to avoid these failures are taught during the course with many other things. Also visit my  web page to find out more articles about project management.

A new ebook released

I have written a new ebook: How to drive your project into success. This ebook will list several common failures for all kinds of projects and how you could change your management and improve, avoid these failures.


At the end of the book I will also list success factors, habits that have improved other project managers to success.


Feel free to How to drive your project into success and comment, ask or share  this to others, too.

What are common problems in project budget?


Project budget should be always based on the accepted scope and estimation, but we all know that project scope is often underestimated. Many times after the project has been started, there will be changes or surprises which were not visible in the beginning. Common reason is project started too late (it has been planned too long, but didn’t get approval on time) or the environment has changed from the preparation phase outcomes.  Some cases you’re not able to avoid these. You can try to collect initial information before preparation phase, try to keep this phase short and involve decision makers since beginning. Then you have more likely to meet the target, get approvals on time and start communication to all involved parties in early phase.


According to Harvard Business Review common outcomes for budget failures are

1. Projects go over budget on average by 27 percent of their intended cost

2. One in six projects saw a budget overrun of 200 percent and

3. IT failure rates are estimated to be between 5–15 percent, accounting for a loss of $50–$150 billion per year in the United States.


How could these be avoided or significantly changed? There are ways to make better estimates, which are based on previous projects, history. It needs much better ways to collect project information into a shared project database. In one company it can be done quite easily, but there are still certain difficulties or hesitance to show actual statistics outside your project. It may not be a question of project manager only; even project sponsors may have their concerns for future positions due to unsuccessful history. You still need to start collecting all necessary data one day to get it up and running in the future.


Sometimes failures happen because of doing too many times or fixing bugs that could have been avoided. In this case there are approaches like Total quality management or Lean management, avoiding waste that can help to improve performance. This should be easier to do, right? 


To avoid budget failures, you also need to look into schedule according to PMI

Organizations with 80 percent or more of projects being completed on time and on budget waste significantly less money due to poor project performance.


Take time to plan not only start and closure, but the milestones in between. It also goes into scope planning: what can we achieve in short term and what were the long term milestones, outcomes we wanted to achieve? Schedule planning must involve not only project team; also other resources need to be available at right time. It goes back to lean management; one solution could be to take a look in Value stream mapping technique. This way you’re able to decide schedule, plan the outcomes, know the previous failures, and learn from experiences, and so on. I highly recommend to learn this technique and become a next level project manager.


Proven steps for becoming next generation project manager

1. Total quality management

Customer-centric approach in all operations

When only benefit you look into is in end-customer, end-user or someone outside the project you’ll be more likely to achieve the target

2. Lean management

To avoid doing many times

See only value adding steps, also take into account in checking critical path

3. Value stream mapping

Recognize tasks that are most important to complete on time

See supporting tasks which also need to complete.


If you liked this article, you may take a look at my Strategic Project Management course. How to avoid these failures are taught during the course with many other things. 

A new course about Italy


I have recently created a new course for project management in Italy. In this course I will share my experiences in doing  projects and work with Italian and country-specific information to get a smooth start in new location. Like other course, this one will also have many templates for new project managers.


For me Italy always means good atmosphere because it has long history, our western civilization started there and Italian people enjoy good living. As a country with a lot of traditions it can offer create way to live, experience and see during your work. South and north are different, like many countries when the distance is long.


You may think that Italians work slowly, but not always. They can complete on time, if needed. This and other interesting facts I'll share in my course.