3 Simple Ways To Ensure Project Success

Rick Knowles

In today’s digital economy, organizations must rely on their ability to execute plans and projects quickly and accurately. No matter what industry you’re in, project management and execution need to be faster, more agile, and more transparent than ever before, as the speed of business quickens, technology advances, and diverse project teams span the globe.

Constant disruption has become the norm, so project teams need to be agile enough to change direction mid-course and still meet deadlines on time and on budget. This may seem like an impossible task, but corporate executives and project leaders must tackle the challenge head on by focusing on the following three factors:

Three keys to successful project execution

  1. Organizational strategy: Have a clear, transparent corporate strategy that accounts for current industry trends and digital disruption
  1. Streamlined goals: Align all projects to your corporate strategy and have clear goals from the start with streamlined business objectives
  1. Project management tools: Use appropriate project management solutions (software/mobile apps)

All three of the above factors are closely linked, and some statistics from recent reports demonstrate the connection. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), 46% of projects are canceled or delayed, and only 44% of projects are highly aligned to organizational strategy. At the same time, 44% of project managers don’t use project management software, according to a report by PWC. Although the numbers come from different sources, the similarities are undeniable. Almost the same percentage of projects that are not aligned to corporate strategy fail, and the same percentage of project managers don’t use appropriate project management software. Pure coincidence? Probably not.

1. Organizational strategy: Why should projects be aligned to the corporate strategy?

Projects that are aligned with the organizational strategy are more likely to succeed. PMI’s most recent Global Project Management Survey shows that when projects are aligned to the corporate strategy, 38% more projects meet their original goals, and 33% fewer projects are deemed failures.

The survey states that organizations waste an average of $97 million for every $1 billion invested due to poor project management and execution. That’s a staggering amount that most companies can’t afford to waste. The bottom line is that the cost of canceled or delayed projects can significantly impact your company’s bottom line, so the goal should be to increase the number of successfully completed projects and reduce the amount of money wasted.

To increase your project success rate, project goals should be aligned to your corporate strategy.

2. Streamlined goals: Are your goals on time and on budget?

Too often, “on time and on budget” are mistakenly thought of as the main measurements of a successful project. But what about the business outcomes? Projects need to meet the right corporate objectives and goals, such as increasing productivity, improving efficiency, or enhancing the overall work experience.

If a project reaches the goal of being on time and on budget, but it doesn’t fulfill its intended purpose, it can’t be considered a success. For example, if you create a software solution on time and on budget, but it makes people’s jobs more difficult, then there will be limited adoption, which will result in reduced productivity and efficiency. Would it still be considered successful if it didn’t fulfill its intended purpose? Probably not.

For the best results, be sure to set goals with clear business outcomes aligned to the corporate strategy.

3. Project management tools: Make project execution easier

Managing and executing a project can be overwhelming. Most projects have many tasks being executed simultaneously by various team members, so it can be challenging to have all of the up-to-date information you need in one place. Communication and collaboration are key to achieving everything that needs to be accomplished, so having the right project software solution is essential for completing projects successfully in today’s digital era.

One of the easiest ways to keep everything in one place and everyone on the project team connected is to use a project companion app. These types of professional services apps give project managers, consultants, and project team members a competitive advantage because they have crucial information at their fingertips to help execute projects:

  • Mobile accessibility: Instant access to project status overview or detailed project information anywhere, anytime
  • Easy collaboration: Team members can use the app for all project-related communication
  • Transparency: Information is available to all members of the project team

The biggest competitive advantage: Corporate connection

The challenge with most project management apps is that they don’t have the ability to access or connect to corporate data through a backend enterprise system.

Recent developments, such as innovations from Apple and SAP, have made enterprise compatibility more accessible with project companion apps that can connect to corporate systems via a cloud platform so users have access to all of the corporate data they need to execute and complete projects more efficiently.

Some of the biggest benefits to using an app that’s connected to your backend system include:

  • Access to key project data, relevant documents, and archived meeting notes
  • Real-time creation of action items, documents, written notes, or images instantly connected to existing contextual project information
  • Easy collaboration between project team members
  • High-level overview of key milestones

Despite the constant industry disruption these days, you can gain a competitive advantage and see more of your projects succeed. Simply make sure you have a clear corporate strategy, then align your project goals to that strategy, and make sure you have the right project companion app to give you the competitive advantage to reach your goals. It’s a simple formula to ensure project success.

Discover how the Apple and SAP partnership is revolutionizing mobile apps for the enterprise.

Learn more about the SAP Project Companion Apps for iOS.

Attend customer sessions to learn more about the Apple and SAP partnership at the upcoming SAPPHIRE NOW event, May 16-18, 2017, in Orlando, Florida.


Rick Knowles

About Rick Knowles

Rick Knowles is senior vice president (SVP) and general manager (GM) of the partnership between SAP SE and Apple, Inc. In this role, he oversees the strategic roadmap in building state-of-the-art applications for some of the most complex business systems in the world. Rick has been with SAP for close to 20 years, where he has held executive positions such as SVP and chief of staff, GM of One Customer Experience, and SVP and chief operating officer for SAP Americas, the company’s largest geographic market. You can follow him on Twitter @RickKnowlesSAP.