As a business that works in project services, it’s fair to say that we have plenty of experience in running projects! That, in turn, leads to our team seeing plenty of projects where things are run well…as well as having seen where projects can go wrong if you don’t get the basics right.

The word ‘project’ can invoke a fairly wide range of emotions, and everyone has a story or a theory on how they work best. For me, there’s three key areas that I like to see the PPS team focus on in running our projects and, from experience, if you get these right, you’re a long way to delivering for your client, regardless of the industry you’re in.

  1. Clear communication solves 99% of problems

Sounds really easy right? Just communicate clearly and everything will be fine! Without sounding like Captain Obvious, it’s absolutely the number one rule when it comes to life….and projects. But it’s amazing how many times I’ve seen this delivered poorly and, as a result, the project suffers.

So, how do you make sure you get it right? It’s covered in both rule number one and two; so, to be frank: You make sure you’re clear from day one. Right from the initial project brief, regardless of whether you’re writing it or responding to it, make sure you’re very clear on what you’re delivering for the project. If it’s a client, make sure they’re clear on what they’re receiving for the money they’re spending. Make sure you’re clear on what you’ve promised to deliver and stick to it (more on that shortly).

Clear communication helps you avoid unnecessary hold ups and errors. It means you spend less time in meetings essentially pouring over the same points over and over again…because everyone knows their role and what they need to deliver, they can just get on with it.

In my view, 99% of all problems start with bad communication. Eliminate that, and you’ll have solved almost every problem you can encounter!

  1. Be accountable: Stop shirking responsibility

It is a great rule to live by: If you say you’re going to do something do it. And if by some chance or force of nature you can’t, then own up to it and fix it.

I’m pretty sure if you’re reading this you’ve come across someone in your working or personal life that is the exact opposite, and I bet you find it incredibly frustrating; I know I do. In projects, particularly for our business in industries like telecommunications, construction and IT, things can move fast. As long as you have your communication sorted, you’re on the right track. Then it’s a case of being accountable.

If you make a promise, do it! If something unforeseen happens, make sure you own it, discuss with all the stakeholders, and have a plan to fix it. Taking ownership helps you both deliver better and build a sense of openness with your stakeholders. People are more likely to work on a project, and come back to you for more, when they know that they can take you at your word.

  1. Exhibit the right behaviour

This is a good one in our industry: If you’re running a project and want your team to deliver it, then make sure you conduct yourself in the same manner you want your team to. A pet hate of mine is leaders who say one thing in front of the client or project stakeholders and then operate in a completely different fashion once they’ve left the room. You need to operate in the same way you want your team to.

One key thing here that has always worked for me: Don’t surround yourself with ‘yes men’. You don’t want to work with people who just say yes to everything you propose. You want clients and team members who are prepared to challenge your thinking and open to suggesting a better way. If you allow people to bring forward their ideas and suggestions, you’ll find you get a better outcome.

So, there is my top three. What are yours? Keen to hear what you think; DM me here or email me at steve@projectprofessionalservices.com.au.