5 Tests to Ensure Successful Project Outcomes

Important projects typically kick off with a big bang but don’t always end with successful project outcomes. How can you make sure that isn’t the case for your next project? Here are five tests you can use early enough in the process to help ensure successful outcomes. These tests are no guarantee to success, but the more clearly you can define points like objectives and benefits, the likelihood for success increases considerably.

5 Tests to Ensure Successful Project Outcomes

Does the Project Line up with Company Goals?

It is important that any new efforts are important to the strategic goals of the company. With the limited resources available to a company, you don’t want the development team spending resources, most notably time, on tasks that don’t line up with company objectives. While companies need to stay competitive, just because a competitor went off on a tangent into some new product area doesn’t mean you have to, also. Stay laser focused.

Are the Objectives Clear?

Projects are typically clear here. Something either works or it doesn’t. But if you don’t have clear and measurable objectives for your project, you’ll never know if it succeeds. Make sure the whole team knows what you’re trying to achieve. It doesn’t help if you keep your objectives a secret.

Is the Project Realistic?

A project must be realistically feasible. Do you have the right budget, time, and people for the task at hand? Unless you’re running off of VC money and trying to open new avenues, your typical effort needs a sense of realism. You don’t need a feasibility study for every project, but creating projects without the necessary resources behind them are doomed for failure.

Have You Calculated the Risk Reward?

When doing risk reward, there are four quadrants: High Risk/High Reward, High Risk/Low Reward, Low Risk/High Reward, and Low Risk/Low Reward. The biggest no brainer is any project that is low risk with a high reward. Those are the projects that you should definitely do. On the other side, anything that is high risk with low reward. Normally, these are projects that should be avoided. There are exceptions here, like tasks that must be done to meet regulatory requirements. How you prioritize the other two areas is a very important aspect of project management. Doing a low risk and low reward project could lead to a successful project outcome, but was it the right project to do in the first place?

Does the Project Offer Professional Development and Team Satisfaction?

Especially in the development arena where a developer can easily pack up and find brighter horizons elsewhere, you need projects that people are proud to have done, that offer professional development opportunities, and offer personal development opportunities, too. This is difficult in smaller organizations, but if someone is with an organization five years, they want five years of experience. They don’t want one year of experience five times.

There is no one surefire way to ensure successful project outcomes. With that said, checking the above five tests before submitting a project plan will help lead to better outcomes.

  • Does the project fit in with company goals?
  • Does it have clear and measurable objectives?
  • Is it realistic?
  • Is the risk worth the reward?
  • Will it keep the staff happy?

Don’t start a project until you can answer each question with a yes.