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How to Tell your Project is Doing Well

June 25, 2010

   I’m getting such a great discussion from my Top 10 Signs your Project is Failing blog,, that I thought I should put some effort to the other side of the coin on How to Tell your Project is Doing Well.

How do you really know when your Project is doing well?

Of course, there are the obvious ways to tell if your project is doing well,  such as everything is ahead of schedule, under budget, you have the right staff you need, and the customer is happy with your performance, product, and/or service.  But, that’s no fun … let’s look deeper at some of the less obvious ways to tell that your project is running smoothly.

  • Everything is coming up Green.  Yes, it’s time once again for that EVMS or Quality threshold indicators that we all need to report on.  How are you coming on this?  How are you coming on that?  Everybody has contributed to the Analysis and Forecasting, and the results look good … AND, you know why.  What a great feeling!
  • Your team mates say ‘hi’ to you in the hallway.  This is a great one as well!  When you have friendly, productive communication with your team, anything is possible.  I can’t say this enough, Be happy, Project confidence, and Motivate the troops.[tweetmeme source=”Aidan_Foley” only_single=false]
  • You still have the same staff that you started the project with.  It’s always nice when your staff aren’t getting pulled for other priorities.  And, even nicer when they aren’t getting replaced due to poor performance, or at the customer’s request.  While I don’t like my resources getting pulled from me, it’s better than having the decision forced on the team at a customer’s request.
  • You’re still on the Project.  Sounds pretty simple, huh?  🙂  It’s always nice to finish what you start.  Nobody likes to be taken out early, or late in the game.  Being pulled from a steady-as-she-goes project to help fix a troubled project is an ego boost, though still frustrating.  I love being the “Smoke Jumper”, but sometimes you “burn out” quicker.
  • The customer is actually requesting new work beyond your current Scope.  You typically don’t ask a contractor to do additional work for you if he is lousy on the current work he’s doing for you, do you?  More work is good thing – as long as you can work out the expectations, budget, and timeframe with your customer … AND, as long as your Rock-Star resources are still available.
  • You sleep the whole night through.  Have you ever been on a troubled program, and waked up concerned over all of the issues you, and your team are facing?  Not a great feeling, AT ALL.  😦  I don’t know about you, but when I have a lot of troubling issues I’m dealing with on a project, I have trouble sleeping.  When things are going well, and the project is running smoothly, I sleep so much better.

I know far too many articles speak of projects gone bad, but I just thought that the other side needs some “kudos” as well.  What do you think?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2010 12:28 am

    Good ones. Love the “say ‘hi'” one.

    How about:

    – Managers are not asking for special status updates. This can be a negative indicator showing neglect or pending cancellation. But if positive, this means the team is communicating project information up the chain such that the managers understand it. And the managers are acquiring the information they need incidental to the project processes. This avoids drag on the work that is going on.

    – Members of the team are often found working together, helping each other and learning. They are even suggesting lunch-and-learn events and other interaction beyond just the project work.

    – Your manager wants you or some of your team to help another project get on track.

    – The customer asks for changes regularly. This is similar to asking for work beyond the scope but I’m pointing to changes to work already complete. Yes, this is positive. If the customer is not happy, they probably will not be asking for small-ish adjustments. If they are not providing feedback regularly on work already delivered, chances are you are not communicating well and often enough.

    – A person on your team reasonably and respectfully told the manager “No.” And the manager supported that answer. Think about the trust and respect required to have that happen regularly. You have a project with that, a lot of things are going right.

    – A major problem, visible to the customer happened or was discovered. And everyone dove in for a solution instead of discussing blame and cost responsibility.

    This is fun to think about!

    • June 26, 2010 12:43 am

      Alan – Great to hear from you again! I love the comment on team members working together. Super stuff!

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