Leaders Judged Harshly When They Don’t Deliver
In modern corporations leadership is no longer simply about setting strategy and winning hearts and minds. Success goes to those who can make change happen.
Remember the days when people considered change a bad thing? Today the general public, and therefore organisations, expect leaders to be effective change agents and are highly critical of executives who are unable to deliver the goods. Perhaps the most public example of this in recent weeks is the issue of Federal poll results and the waning popularity of the Rudd government. Commentators suggest the downturn is directly attributable to problems in the delivery of major projects.
What is the track record for successful project delivery within your organisation? How would the general public be polling your performance as a change agent?
10-Point Project Health Checklist
1. Strategic Alignment
Is it clear where the project contributes to your strategy (do you need to review this) and is the priority well understood and communicated?
2. Business Case
Is the project justified via a solid business case? Is it still current, are business requirements still appropriate, are agreed critical success factors clear, is there significant user involvement?
Has clear ownership for the project outcome been established? Is there an experienced project manager accountable for execution? Is an active senior sponsor ensuring that organisational challenges are dealt with? Is there a clear structure ensuring all parties understand their accountability?
4. Active Governance
Is active governance in place that not only establishes corporate controls but also harnesses management support, steers the project, removes obstacles and remediates project or benefit-realisation shortfalls? Are support
structures in place for defining problems and solution options for clear and swift decision making?
Has a useful plan been agreed with the necessary stakeholders? Is it broken down into manageable pieces allowing the organisation to commit to one stage at a time? Is it realistic in relation to current organisational constraints (people/time/budget/feasibility? Does it align with the business case and current requirements? Have key risks been identified that may impact the success of the project?
Is the project being executed in manageable stages with periodic reviews and progress updates? Is there a simple and effective method for escalating problems? Are effective change, issues and risk management strategies in place to safeguard your investment? Have the key risks that may impact the success of the project been mitigated? Are you looking to reduce complexity at every opportunity?
7. Impact & Benefits
Are plans in place for how the organisation will accommodate transition changes that the project will introduce, and how benefits will be embedded and measured? Is any significant organisational resistance being managed with the executive team?
Are the right people working on the project or just the available people? Have adequate resources been allocated and does the organisation understand the importance of their prioritisation and commitments? Is internal and external resource performance monitored proactively?
Are key stakeholders kept informed? Do you trust the information being reported and is it effective? Does communication identify risks, clearly defined problems and resolutions agreed rather than share information? Does communication promote realistic expectations? Is adequate notice provided? Are communications events planned or do they occur in reaction to complaints?
10. Executive View
Is there a high level map of all major initiatives, how they benefit the organisation and impact each other? Are major initiatives reviewed when the strategy changes? Are the organisation’s project and program skills evolving into a mature core capability?