Nobody starts a project because they want to fail. However, in our recent survey, 48% of 1000+ non-profit leaders said their digital project failed to meet its objectives and was ultimately unsuccessful. So how can you beat the odds?

A lack of planning is just one of the many reasons why we see projects fail. Whilst it can be tempting to dive straight in and explore new technologies and their shiny features, we cannot underestimate the value of planning and preparing your organisation for the change.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

So how can you plan for success?

Know where you are now

Often organisations know where they should be and what they would like to achieve but are just not sure how to get there. To identify the route to success, you need to have an in-depth understanding of where you are now. The planning stage gives you the opportunity to explore the issues and challenges your organisation is experiencing and to understand their root causes. This ultimately puts you in the best position to find the best solution.

Be clear on your objectives

Creating clear objectives and strategic goals for your organisation and your project provides you with a direction of travel and will help you remain on track and motivated throughout the project.

Projects can take a long time to complete, and project fatigue is inevitable. But in the moments where you ask yourself “why are we doing this again?” you should be able to answer clearly with the value this will provide to not only your organisation but also your members and donors.

Map your direction of travel

A roadmap is a key element of your plan for success. It will pave the way to achieving your ambitions by highlighting key milestones, both short and long term, and identifying any risk factors. Knowing the potential challenges ahead gives you the best opportunity to overcome them.

However, it is worth noting that your roadmap will need to be reviewed throughout the project. New opportunities, as well as new challenges, may arise, and you need to be flexible to be able to take advantage and overcome anything that comes your way.

Don’t go it alone

Resistance can be detrimental to the success of your project. We are creatures of habit and so are often resistant to change, no matter how beneficial the change may be for us. We like to do things that make us feel secure and comfortable and changes bring the fear of the unknown.

However, creating an effective business case that clearly communicates the key benefits the investment will provide to your organisation will provide a solid foundation where everyone can agree on a way forward. It will also support decision-making by providing clarity on options, costs, and implications.

It’s just beginning

There are lots of moving elements within a project that can determine your success. Project governance and the role of a project team are to name but a few. But you can plan for them.

To find out more about planning for success, attend our free Training Programme on How to deliver successful projects, specifically Module 2: The essentials of planning successful projects, where you will receive free resources and templates to help you plan for success.