Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Formula For Success Is Really Easy - Except For That Pesky Little Bit At The End

The formula for success is indeed really easy - at least easy to understand and remember:

          Success = Motivation + Knowledge + Commitment + Perseverance * Action.

Let's apply this formula in the context of the goal of getting our project in on schedule and within budget.

In my previous post, I discussed how success starts with motivation.  The probability of success is directly proportional to how badly we need or want to achieve a goal.  We must strongly want to bring in our project on schedule and be confident that we can and will achieve that goal.

The next ingredient in the formula is Knowledge.  What does it take to achieve the goal?  In our project environment, we usually know the processes and best practices that should be followed (e.g. Change Management, Risk Management, Quality Management etc.), even if we don't always follow them, so knowledge is not usually the factor that limits our success.

We now need to make a commitment with our team, that we will work together to achieve that goal.  Achieving the goal should be seen as a team responsibility and success will be a team success.

Perseverance * Action
Now this is the hard part - actually taking the actions necessary and persevering with or modifying those actions until the goal is achieved.

Here's an example of how difficult this is.  Many of us decide at the beginning of every year that we are going to lose weight, strongly motivated for reasons of health and/or appearance.  The knowledge of what we need to do is well known.  If we do even just one of three things (eat healthier foods, exercise more or eat less) and keep the others constant, we will lose weight.

We typically make our  commitment to lose weight through a documented New Years resolution, followed by signing up for health clubs or some daily regimen of exercise and dieting all supported by diaries and charts to track our expected progress.  But the follow up actions (persevering in actually eating less, eating healthier foods and/or exercising more) is where we tend to come apart.  It is easier to put off the actions for another day - what difference is one day going to make?

So if we are to be successful, we need to address and maximize every part of the formula, but particularly focus on persevering with the actions and project management best practices that will facilitate our success.

We usually know what these actions and best practices are, or can easily learn them.  We just have to do them.

What are some of the special things you do on your projects that help them to be successful?

If you are interested in learning about the project management best practices and techniques that will help you keep your project on track, sign up for our recorded webinar APM03  "How To Keep Your Project On Schedule And Within Budget" at  Our next AlphaPM Project Management Webinar Program starts Tuesday September 4, so this webinar will also be available live at 12 noon EST on Tuesday September 18, 2012.

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