ThShuba Kathikeyanis is a guest post by Shuba Kathikeyan, head of Apex Global Learning the learning solutions arm of ECC International (ECCI). She has over 10 years of experience in the areas of project management, business analysis, software development and IT service management. She carries several international certifications in the areas of ITIL, Business Analysis, Project Management, Microsoft Technology and Learning Management amongst others. Shuba has a passion for process improvement, training and new product development.

Today’s business environment is characterized by constant change and increasing complexity. These two factors make it that much more challenging to not only stay above water but to thrive.

5 Steps to Ensuring Project Management Success

Decision makers must be flexible enough to ensure that their business strategies continue to help them stay competitive, customer-centric, and productive all while keeping an eye on staying profitable as a business enterprise.

Project management is a combination of both an artistic and scientific approach. As an art form, it requires people skills like leadership abilities, trust-building, and problem-solving savvy. As a science, it utilizes quantifiable metrics, systematic processes, and standardized methodologies that undergo rigorous testing.

Juggling these two sides is one of the key secrets to project success. Here are five steps you must utilize, refine, and keep track of for best results.

1. Secure the C-Suite buy-in

This is a crucial step to ensuring project completion, as well as increases your chances of success. Make an effort to get your executive team’s unwavering support.

Executive sponsorship means that your C-suite is committed to seeing the project through and provide you with the necessary tools to achieve it.

When the company sees how invested the top tier managers are to the project, it trickles down to all employees, and they see how valuable it is to accomplish it with flying colors. This is also an effective way to eliminate any resistance that might arise, whether it stems from employee’s lack of support, budgetary constraints, or resource issues. You know that top management will help you during these rough patches.

2. Clearly, define and communicate goals and objectives

Write your objectives using concrete terms that can be translated into quantifiable metrics. This helps you visualize what you want to accomplish and helps you plan the right processes in place. It helps ensure that you stay within the project scope so that you don’t veer away from unnecessary, useless details that will not contribute much to your overall objective.

3. Keep track of goalposts for measuring success

Take the time to set reasonable deadlines and project milestones to flesh out your objectives. Remember to be flexible when you see anything that’s not working by adjusting and refining your process as you go. Iterate on plans that help you inch closer to your goal, and don’t hesitate to abandon ideas that don’t.

4. Make sure you have the right people for the job

It goes without saying that the right skills and experience are necessary components of an effective project. But, make sure each member complements one another so that each one balances out their strengths and weaknesses.

It also helps to hire people who actually get along with one another to limit friction. Hire the right project manager who has the soft skills and is management savvy to help form a cohesive and productive team.

5. Meet the team on a regular basis

Schedule meetings and make sure that you follow it. Having short face to face or virtual huddles on a daily basis ensures that everyone is literally and figuratively on the same page. This enables you to identify potential issues and solve them before it balloons into a major crisis.

Using the right project management processes will help you successfully navigate today’s complex business environment. It is an effective tool to ensuring that a project is on schedule, within budget, and achieves the stated objectives. This is accomplished by using a set of activities that begin and end at stated intervals while fulfilling quantifiable and qualifiable deliverables.

Use the five steps outlined here to increase your chances of accomplishing your projects within the specified time and financial constraints to ensure longevity without compromising your company’s bottom line requirements.