There are many reasons why projects get done on time and on budget. Focus, organization of information and setting the right goals are just a few. Here are some of the activities that can help ensure project success.
1. Establish Project Vision: what is the need for the project; define what needs to be accomplished; how will you know it is accomplished; what does the “end in mind” look like?
2. Understand Current Resources: are current resources enough to get the job done? If not, what specific items are needed: people, software, strategy, tools, etc. The more comprehensive and detailed, the better, at the outset of the project.
3. Get Help If You Determine That You Need It Before the Project Starts: outside consultants, programmers, administrative support, experts, managers, project implementers, etc.. If your project will require additional resources, then it is best to bring those resources to the table well before the time you require their assistance; this often helps to improve timeline & cost estimates, while reducing the potential for last minute hurdles to overcome.
4. Evolve, Implement and Test Along the Way: don't wait until you are 100% complete with what you think needs to be done before testing or implementing. Changes or modifications will be needed. Better to know this as far in advance of the project completion date as possible.
5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: think, in advance, what the communication flow will look like, what approvals are needed, decision making, status updates and more. The more planned out the project is, the higher the probability of meeting the project completion date target.
5b. Communication Also Includes Training, Before, During and After: you are working on a project to institute change somewhere. Change is not always easily accepted. With change come new procedures, methods, practices, expectations, etc. Training around all of this needs to be planned as part of your goal achievement.
6. Overcome Obstacles the Minute They Get in Your Way: some call them excuses. Some let business get in the way of business. The fires will never stop needing to be extinguished. Planning ahead and setting up contingency plans along with a mindset of relentlessly pursuing the time goals and deadlines will ensure your successful completion. Don’t let anything stop you from hitting your due dates and deadlines.
7. Maintain Focus: projects get off center when tangents arrive, outside influences take over and projects birth many new projects. If needed, set up a new project plan to deal with these, but don't let it derail your original goals.
These are just a few, but can be a good start toward the right steps to achieve your objectives and deadlines. Some of this is common sense, but not common practice. Making it common practice will allow you to accomplish more in less time and on budget.