The importance of aligning your project team around a few critical goals
Completing a successful project is much more than coming in on time and under budget. While those two factors are great indicators of success, are they the only metrics that matter?
Have you ever worked on a project where you couldn’t wait for it to be over? Unfortunately, for too many of us, we know how frustrating and demoralizing this can feel. It is as if the rubber band is pulled to the maximum, about to snap, and everyone is feeling stressed to their limit. Once a project effort reaches this point, communication starts to breakdown and critical milestones can be missed or completely overlooked. Getting everyone back into alignment can feel all but impossible at this point and it can feel like there are limited options to achieving a successful project outcome.
In our experience, and to avoid this situation, defining what success really means to each project stakeholder upfront, has proven to be a critical tool in identifying a common set of project goals. Taking some time to complete this effort creates an environment that fosters positive communication and collaboration amongst all Project Team members. After all, project teams are often working together for 14-24 months.
Like any successful sports team, clearly understanding what your roles and responsibilities are, and how your contribution will directly impact achieving a successful outcome, increases engagement and attention to important details. For our project teams, we go beyond simply defining success criteria for our internal team members, but look for input from ALL project team members, including design team members, trade partners, and other stakeholders, to ensure that everyone on our project teams feels like they are part of the effort in a meaningful way.
What is Project Success Criteria?
Project Success Criteria is a process kicked off after project award, which establishes quantifiable standards and metrics critical to the project’s overall success. It provides all key project stakeholders and team members the opportunity to define measurable terms of success
At MPC our Project Success Criteria process are created to define an agreed upon set of criteria to be evaluated throughout the projects lifecycle to determine if it is being completed successfully. These project specific criteria are created for each project and include the input of all project team members to outline the following:
- Clear Goals for the project Expectations. Provide clarity on expectations and outcomes for individual and team related responsibilities promoting accountability, dependability, and trust throughout the project team.
- Operate as a team. Boost team participation driven and motivated by the agreement of shared goals that align with the vision of the project.
- Better Collaboration. Foster an environment based on collaboration and contribution
WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED?
The Project Success Criteria process is kicked off after project award with an internal meeting of project team members where anywhere from 7 to 10 success criteria are identified.
Once this step is completed, the list is then forwarded to the Owner and Architect for input. The final list is then created and includes the collective input of ALL project team members, resulting in the team’s definition of Project Success.
The Project Success Criteria should be reviewed monthly during regularly scheduled team meetings, in which, each member of the Project Team is present. This platform allows for each member of the Project Team to engage and contribute their assessment of each success criteria.
We have found the best results when our Senior Project Manager/Project Manager is responsible and accountable for the implementation, ongoing monitoring, and making the needed adjustments to ensure the Project Team is in alignment with the Project Success Criteria.
Ultimately, defining a set of wide-ranging criteria for success, gets all team members aligned around a few critical goals, while also establishing a “road map” for decision making throughout the entire project. At the end of any project, being able to look back and acknowledge the various contributions of each team member, fosters an increased sense of pride in a collective accomplishment. This also creates a positive team dynamic, which fosters a desire to work together again on future projects. In our book, this is truly the definition of a successful project team effort.