Are Your Projects “Healthy”?

Do any of you put your projects through an annual physical?  Okay, maybe not the best title but you know what I mean.  As with our own physical, the best news would be that our projects have been given a clean bill of health.
Do any of you put your projects through an annual physical?  Okay, maybe not the best title but you know what I mean.  As with our own physical, the best news would be that our projects have been given a clean bill of health.
Do any of you put your projects through an annual physical?  Okay, maybe not the best title but you know what I mean.  As with our own physical, the best news would be that our projects have been given a clean bill of health.

I was reminded recently that it is time for my annual physical. At my age, this is a pretty important time of the year and sometimes a little stressful.  None of us want the bad news but if we can get some early indications of arising issues, this would be a good thing.  Ideally, we have time to get these ‘issues’ under control.

Do any of you put your projects through an annual physical?  Okay, maybe not the best title but you know what I mean.  As with our own physical, the best news would be that our projects have been given a clean bill of health.

I’ve thought lately about the definition of a healthy project. Over the next couple of weeks I would like to dissect each of the areas, but let’s start with the big picture for now.

Healthy projects:

  • contain team members and stakeholders that are happy.
  • have clients that are satisfied.
  • deliver value to the “business”.
  • provide a learning environment for everyone and everything involved, including the project itself

Note, that I didn’t include smooth delivery, no changes, crisis free days, on budget delivery, on-time delivery or even on scope delivery.  I did not include no arguments, no disagreements, no missed deadlines or great communication channels.

The reality is that all of our projects are subject to lots of bad stuff, including any or most of the above list.

Healthy projects manage all of the bad stuff well – leading people on all sides who can say “that experience was worthwhile and I’m glad I was a part of it (either as a customer or team member).”

Healthy projects contain team members who can admit that while it wasn’t smooth all along, and the journey included some pretty stressful moments, they enjoyed being involved in this project.

If the client is satisfied, we did our job well. We managed through all of the changes and typical project issues and delivered what the customer wanted. In the end, we can see that through all of our efforts, we delivered a product or service that added value to someone or something’s bottom line or life.

And finally, months or years from now, we can look back at some of the lessons learned and apply them to future work we are doing and, personally or professionally, we learn and we grow.

Next week, let’s start with the team members.  How do we keep our team happy within a project environment?  Please email me and let me know your thoughts. I would love next week’s post to be a collaborative effort.

Have a great week and best wishes for happy and healthy projects. 

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1 thought on “Are Your Projects “Healthy”?”

  1. Coming from the service sector, a healthy project should include a financial aspect. Overrunning budgets erodes the profit margin, at least from the standpoint the project has a fixed price. A company will not exist for very long when projects continually exceed their budget and fail to maintain a healthy profit margin. Secondly, just like an annual physical, measurements need to be made and compared to standards. Each of your healthy project areas are “soft”. Measuring them will require some care as will setting the standard for healthy. The importance of the four areas you stated are often overlooked which you are pointing out. Project managers need to place more emphasis on them but because they are “soft”, they tend to shy away from setting up measurements.

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