More than ever, project success is directly tied to effective involvement of business executives. The number one reason for project failures - according to Gartner Group, The Project Management Institute, and many other observers of project management performance – is due to issues surrounding executive commitment and sponsorship.
How then can we communicate better at the board room level? How can we use that communication to get decisions and actions that will guide our projects toward a successful outcome?
After analyzing thousands of projects that differed widely in size, type, complexity, and geographic location, seven key areas have been identified that make the difference between success and failure on any project. These result areas have been incorporated into the Seven Keys to Success™ framework*.
The PM must ensure the health of his project by monitoring all Seven Keys to Success ™ and not just Team, Scope, & Schedule, which are often a PM's primary focus.
The myths about the Seven Keys to Success ™
The Seven Keys are legacy of PwC and not integrated with IBM Methods The Seven Keys are now integrated in the WWPM Release 1.4 1Q04 and become part of the overall IBM Methodologies.
Is this not just an additional report to produce? Yes, if you see reporting as paper-producing. No, if you use the Seven Keys report as a communication instrument to come to actionable results.
Seven’s not really a magic number – I can modify the framework and just use 5 or 6 keys if I want to Real-life project experience indicates that all seven keys are important to the success of any project, omitting any of the Seven Keys is not recommended.
The Seven Keys are cumbersome to use – besides, my project is small Feedback indicates that both large and small projects can benefit from using the Seven Keys and they are not so difficult to report
The Seven Keys are just for BCS client engagement teams No, since they are integrated within WWPM there are IBM cross-brand. True, BCS is marketing the Seven Keys to Success to clients and the existing training is at this moment limited to BCS, but mainly for license-fee purposes
The Seven Keys to Success™ cover the key factors that impact your project’s health
The Seven Keys to Success™ is checking the health during the project life cycle
Questions to consider during Stages of the project:
Are the required delivery organization management processes clear?
Do we have a knowledge capture process in place?
Have we reconciled and closed project codes?
Are the critical lessons learned documented?
Example: Executive Dashboard
Example: Extract of a Project Health Review sheet
When you're preparing for an executive level meeting, ask yourself, "What do I want them to know? What do I want them to decide?" This is exactly what The Seven Keys To Success framework provides as your boardroom level communication technique.
Successful projects are never in perfect health at all times. But successful projects always address their health issues promptly and effectively.
Remember, we are not alone in our management responsibilities – our project sponsors must share the load. And we must learn to do a great job of making that happen.
Use The Seven Keys To Success as a built-in agenda for your regular monthly Steering Committee meetings. Get those health issues on the table, and get the commitment to take the necessary actions. Actions that will alter the course of history.
Addendum Information Sources
IBM ICM Asset Web
Seven Keys to Project Management Success Updated Jan 2004