The most common commentary on 2016 at this point isn't printable under our editorial guidelines, but believe it or not, it's not all bad. Yes there have been losses, some wrenching, but there have also been amazing successes. And both are reminders of some eternal lessons, both for projects and for life. So to wrap up this year (and not a moment too soon), we offer a reminder of eight truly astounding project successes in 2016, and six lessons we hope will inspire you to make 2017 a year worth remembering.
Projects to Celebrate in 2016
by DeAnna Burghart
difficult. Many of us will be delighted to kick it to the curb. But at a time of year when retrospectives can easily descend into the maudlin or morose (especially this year), we decided to shine a light on the accomplishments of the year, and the hopes and expectations for the next one.
Eight great miracles project teams pulled off in 2016»
Project Lessons from 2016
Aim High - SWOT Analysis – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until January 12, 2017
In the words of one of science fiction's greatest, "the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible." Arthur C. Clarke wasn't a project manager, but he understood the complex relationship between human ambition and our self-imposed limitations. The best projects of 2016 took advantage of the empty space that everyone else defined as impossible. Look for those spaces. That's where you'll find the real opportunities.
Remember That Plans Aren't Promises - Project Alternatives Tradeoff Table – PREMIUM
No matter what you plan for, something's gotta give. Make sure it's the right things. Prepare your team and your stakeholders in advance for the necessary tradeoffs, then make sure you all have your eyes on the same goal. In the end, success will be determined by solving the problem, not necessarily by building to the original vision.
Plan for the Worst - Establishing Ground Rules for Issue Escalation – PREMIUM
If 2016 could be summed up in one word, it would probably be "unexpected." Even a solid risk plan can't see the unknown unknowns, so your team needs problem-solving and issue management processes that can flex to meet those challenges. Make sure your team knows when and how to ask for help, and that they know it's not just OK, but expected. Having that system in place could be the difference between loud success and silent failure.
Value Your Team - Project Team Rewards and Recognition Guideline – MEMBER
Automation may be coming, but for now, no project happens without people. Make sure your team knows that you see and appreciate their efforts, that their contributions matter, and that they are valued. This may be the most important thing you do for any project; not only will it affect your team's success, it may affect your ability to attract and keep the interest of star team members for future moonshots. Don't wait for the end-of-year dinner. Start today.
Celebrate Together - Project Retrospectives – PREMIUM
Some projects go well. Some just go. Wherever your project falls on the spectrum of success, celebrate the lessons you learned, the milestones you accomplished, even the failures that propelled you toward your goals. Mark the occasions early and often, in fact, at every possible opportunity in your project. In the end, we will fail a lot more often than we succeed, at least if we're doing it right. By embracing it, we give our team courage. And that is what enables future successes.
Hope Springs Eternal - Rescuing and Revitalizing the Problem Project – MEMBER
Survey the great accomplishments of human history, or even the mediocre ones, and you'll find one common thread: people who refused to give up. Yes, sometimes a project just isn't worth it, and sometimes even good projects fall victim to insurmountable human errors, but you would probably be astonished how often even hopeless projects pulled out and delivered unexpected successes. Whatever is behind you is just that: behind you. Take stock of where you are and the road forward, and then pick a path that shows promise. And aim high. Because past performance is not an indicator of future results.
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