Every project is unique, and a successful project is always the sum of many different components. All projects have their own characteristics and specific requirements that need to be considered in their design, implementation, management, communication and evaluation. It is in the nature of project work that well planned is half done. Of course, a forward-looking project team knows how to prepare for unexpected and unforeseen situations that cannot be fully anticipated even with good planning. In a successful project, the schedule, the responsibilities and commitments of everyone involved, and the quality and cost of the work go hand in hand. Good communication and effective interaction are key ingredients in any project. Skilled management and people-centred leadership crown the project.

Sounds like a simple and straightforward recipe for success, doesn’t it? But the truth is more miraculous than fiction, and life on a project is not always a bed of roses.

The task of project management is to gather the best possible expertise for the project. This requires the project manager to have a psychological eye when assembling the project team. It is not enough to bring the necessary expertise to the project, but also to ensure that the team members are able to interact, cooperate and manage themselves. In a work-intensive and tightly scheduled project, you cannot afford to include poor performers, indifferent, inefficient or self-centred people, nor the perpetual know-it-alls. The project needs reliable and competent experts with the attitude that ’where there is a will, there is always a way’.

Success depends crucially on how the objectives, planned activities and expected results are discussed and agreed within the project team or multi-stakeholder project consortium at the start of the project. Different interpretations and possible differences of opinion need to be discussed openly and constructively. In the early stages, it is essential to clarify what we are doing together and why, as well as the role of each individual in the joint production. Involving and activating project staff in a variety of ways will lay the foundations for cooperation, commitment and ultimately success. Confidence in the project team is increased when members share a common understanding of the goals and methods of the work.


author: Mika Launikari