It’s human nature to ask probing questions before jumping into any major investment – whether it’s buying a new car or choosing a life partner, jumping in blindly is something most people would strongly advise against. Why is it then that so many businesses fall into the trap of approving projects without first taking the time to really think it through?
Whether it’s a case of getting too excited about an idea, or feeling the pressure to simply get something done, a successful outcome is rarely achieved from a hasty decision.
Therefore, before jumping into action mode, take a step back and consider the following:
- How does this project align to our business strategy & goals?
If a project is not aligned to or at least supports your overall business strategy and goals, you are wasting both time and money. Be sure that you have a clear understanding of the expected business benefits, as well as the likelihood of achieving these, before making any commitments.
- Can we afford it?
There’s a saying that goes: “If you’re not going to do it properly, don’t do it at all”. The same logic applies to projects where budget is a major constraint. If you do not have the available funds to properly execute on an idea, rather put it on the backburner until you can.
- Is it realistically achievable?
Unrealistic timelines and overstretched resources are two of the biggest project killers. A project should not be given the go ahead unless timelines have been validated and all key project roles have been filled with resources who have sufficient time available to focus on the project.
- Who needs to be involved?
Sufficient stakeholder involvement is key to a project’s success. The right level of buy-in and support can raise a project’s priority and accelerate its progress. A lack of buy-in and support on the other hand creates an uphill battle from beginning to end. Always be sure that you have the right people on your side before you approve any initiative.
- Do we have a plan B?
Consider the expected project outcomes and determine whether there is perhaps another way of achieving the same result, particularly if it can be done in a more cost-effective or timeous way. It’s much easier to propose an alternative route before work has commenced than to try and persuade a project team to change course once they’re moving full steam ahead.
- How will we determine success?
If there is no clear plan and/or metrics around measuring project success, you won’t have anything to validate against as the project progresses. If a project starts going off course, you can only make the needed adjustments if you have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve.
Need help working through your list of potential projects? Let us guide you through the project approval process. Give Cathy a call on (0)21 447 5696 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org and put an end to project investments that miss the mark.