all know that the longer the project, the more difficult it is to plan.
last blog, “Are your reports hurting project success?” I
discussed the Cone of Uncertainty model, which roughly states that unknowns are
higher at the start of a project. Although effective reporting can manage the
risks of unpredicted issues and changes, it will not eliminate the
risks that come with large projects that span over several periods.
got me thinking... keeping your health in check is an investment people are
making more and more of every day. Can we apply these best practices to
project goals using lessons from life
can be tricky in the long-term. Your body hits plateaus in how it reacts to
your diet and exercise regime. At these plateaus, you need to change your
routine to shock the body and encourage your muscles to keep working.
if we are to equate these plateaus to “projects”? Let’s compare this to how a fitness program is designed to achieve the longer
setting up a fitness program, a personal trainer will assess your
objectives and structure a schedule that involves multiple short-term goals
(usually 6 weeks) to keep your motivation steady and your eye on the
to how a fitness program is broken into six- week periods, research supports
that it’s best to divide large enterprise projects into specifically focused
three-month increments, while managing the overall project similar to a
short- term projects are then easily managed, modified to accommodate
environmental changes, or paused all together. The small scope and limited
duration enforces tight constraints so you can focus on the critical success
breaking projects into manageable intervals applies a clear outline of what
needs to be achieved for the “mini project”. Its success allows the team,
stakeholders, and customers to easily recognize the accomplishments that have
been made towards the overall vision.
approach — the bigger the project, the higher the risk of failing.
shows that breaking long-term projects into smaller, short-term projects is
effective in achieving success.
study by McKinsey and Oxford University in 2012 found that half of all large IT
projects massively blow their budgets while delivering 56 percent less value
than anticipated. Some expend their finances so badly they threaten the very
existence of the company.
Image source: Delivering
large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value
the same year, Gartner did a study that found projects with budgets exceeding
$1 million have a 50 percent higher failure rate than those with a budgets
below $350,000. For those under $350K, almost a quarter of project failures are
attributed to runaway budget costs caused by changes.
study further exhibits how long-term projects requiring big budgets are
difficult to accurately control.
works because you take CARE
The key to using the concept of short-term goals to achieve long-term success is to treat the larger project like a program. A program is the umbrella structure that encompasses a series of related projects and by providing focus ensures that these initiatives are communicated effectively.
Consistency - an assumption accepted today may change
over time. The shorter project is completed
quicker and hence more likely to remain constant.
- longer projects have varying requirements
that need to be addressed, while shorter ones have a
more defined focus.
- long-term projects may lose the support
and enthusiasm of stakeholders and employees if there are
no tangible results to celebrate. Shorter projects
have the goal in sight.
Effectiveness - it’s easier to plan and estimate for the
immediate future than for the distant future.
Applying the concepts
do we confidently keep an eye on the bigger picture, achieve our goals, and
manage sub projects and master projects all at the same time?
us for our next monthly webinar where we show how leading customers apply this
approach to ensure long term success and discuss tips to help you increase your
Size matters - Strategies when dealing with large, complex projects
Download this insight: Agora Insights - Short Term Goals Long Term Success.pdf