Every project has different success factors, but there are a number of steps – applicable to almost any project – that you can take to help ensure project success.

In previous blog posts we’ve discussed, in various levels of detail, a number of fundamental principles around project management. Blogs on the project management triangle and the five stages of a project especially have provided a grounding on what project management is and why it is so important.

For this latest blog post we’re going to build on these principles and take a broader look at what makes a project successful. Here, for your consideration, are our six steps to project success.

Step One: Gain Stakeholder Commitment

Successful project delivery can often seem like an uphill struggle. It can be made significantly less painful with the commitment and engagement of stakeholders. Imagine you’re the captain of a football team and you want to win a match. You need all of your teammates working together; it won’t do if half the team are playing for a draw. Everyone needs to be pushing towards the same goal, and it’s no different with a project. Agreeing the goal – or scope – is equally important, though, and it’s our step two.

Step Two: Fully Define Project Scope

Remember the project management triangle of time, scope and costs? In many ways scope is the most important factor of a project: it’s what you’re aiming to achieve, after all. Comprehensively defining a project’s scope – and ensuring that the scope is understood and agreed by all stakeholders – from the outset and throughout a project is essential to its successful delivery. How can you hope to achieve something if you don’t fully understand what it is you’re trying to achieve?!?

Step Three: Communicate Effectively

The importance of effective communication cannot be over-stated. Ensuring that teams and individuals keep other stakeholders appraised of their progress – both in terms of the successful completion of phases and any issues that arise – is an essential element of project delivery, especially in the execution phase.

Step Four: Carry Out Continual Reviews

A review can be scheduled daily, weekly or fortnightly, or it can be ad hoc. It can take the form of a conference call, a roundtable meeting, or a shared document discussed over web conference. However a review is carried out, it needs to happen: regular reviews allow stakeholders to communicate effectively (as in step three) and enable the project manager to retain control of the project, making adjustments for potential changes in time, scope and costs, which we’ll address in step five.

Step Five: Control Scope Creep

If you lose control of scope creep – where the scope of a project gradually shifts over its course – the entire project can be compromised. The project scope that had initially been agreed by stakeholders during the definition and planning phases can and often does change due to variables out of the project manager’s control. By working in-line with the project management triangle, communicating effectively and carrying out continual reviews, you can control scope creep and ensure that even if the scope of a project does change, you remain on course for the successful closure of the project.

Step Six: Close and Document

The successful closure of a project requires review and sign-off by stakeholders, as well as documentation of the changes that have been implemented. The organisation needs to understand how the project’s scope affects ‘business as usual’ working practices, and – should issues arise following the completion of the project – thorough documentation will support analysis and remediation.

In this blog post we’ve provided guidance on six steps to project success. These aren’t so much essentials as they are best practice guidelines, but we believe that they contribute towards the successful delivery of projects of all scopes and sizes. To learn more about our principles of project success, feel free to get in touch with us.

In our previous blog posts we explained what project management is and why it’s important, and we introduced the concept of the project management triangle.

Now that we’ve explored some of the concepts that make up project management, we’re going to take a look at what actually takes place during a project.

For this blog, then, we’ll explain the five stages of a project. Every project is unique, but you should find that – if best practices are followed – each one follows the five stages of definition, planning, execution, control and closure.

Five Stages Blog Diagram


In order for a project to be successful it is essential that its outputs (what the project is trying to achieve) are defined. The definition stage requires engagement with stakeholders, whose input will factor into a project initiation document that clearly and concisely defines the project’s scope.


During the planning stage, the multiple activities that will combine to complete the project are defined. Timeframes and resources for each activity need to be identified, and any dependencies – for example, you can’t begin a certain activity until another has completed – should be understood and accommodated.

Planning should take into account the project management triangle, ensuring that time, scope and cost are understood for each activity.


You’ve defined the scope of your project, and you have a plan in place for how you’re going to achieve it. Here is where you start working on the activities that you’ve planned out. Effective project execution requires communication and integration between the teams and individuals responsible for completing the project elements. This makes strong Project Management absolutely key.


Throughout the execution of the project, remember to stay in control of time, scope and costs: if one or more of them change – and they very likely will – then the others will have to adjust to accommodate.


The final stage of a project, closure is where stakeholders review the previous four stages and provide sign-off that the final outcome meets the agreed project scope. An important – and sometimes overlooked – element of project closure is documentation: for the changes enacted by the project to become ‘business as usual’, appropriate documentation is required for both users and administrators.

Each of the five stages of a project is important in its own right, and requires careful management to ensure that it contributes towards the successful delivery of a project’s goals. At TSC Projects we manage the entire project lifecycle, from definition through to closure; contact us to learn more about the importance of the five stages of a project, and how strong Project Management supports successful completion.

The project management triangle, consisting of the three constraints of time, scope and cost, is essential to successful project delivery.

In the last blog post we provided an introduction to project management, explaining what it is and why it’s important. Now that you have a basic understanding of what project management is all about, we’re going to dig a little deeper and talk about the project management triangle.

The Project Management Triangle

tscAll projects have outputs or goals; they all have timeframes in which they need to be completed; and they all have set resource and finance allocations. These three considerations, which can be termed time, scope and cost, combine to form the three constraints that comprise the project management triangle. The combination of time, scope and cost is what largely dictates the quality of a project’s output.

  • Time is, unsurprisingly, the amount of time available for a project to be completed. The amount of time allocated needs to be realistic given the scope and cost of any given project.
  • Scope is the fundamental elements that comprise a project – what the project is setting out to achieve. Scope can often change over the course of a project, as requirements are added or removed; this is called scope drift.
  • Cost encompasses resources, labour, risk, materials and all of the factors that go into achieving a project scope within the allocated project time.
  • Quality is what you get when you combine time, scope and cost to deliver a project. If the three key constraints change, so does the quality. We’ll explain this later.

Relationships Between Time, Scope and Cost

Time, scope and cost comprise the three sides of the project management triangle, but it is not just the constraints themselves but the relationships between them that make the concept so important.

You can’t adjust one constraint without affecting the others. If you increase or reduce one of the three constraints, the other two must also adjust. Consider the following three examples: –

  • A car dealership has decided to undertake a project to upgrade the database systems on which it holds details on its vehicles and customers. Time, scope and cost have been set. However, the software vendor announces that the current software is set to reach the end of its supported life before the planned completion of the project. The time will have to decrease, which means that the scope may have to decrease to meet the shorter timeframe and the cost may increase as more out-of-hours work is required to complete the project.
  • A creative agency is rolling out new Windows laptops to all of its users. After time, scope and cost have been set, three directors at the company have stated that they want Apple MacBooks rather than Windows laptops. The scope of the project has increased, which means that time and cost will increase as additional work will be required to allow the Apple MacBooks to access systems designed primarily for access by Windows operating systems.
  • A housing developer is seeking to open a sales and marketing suite at a new development. With time, scope and costs already having been set, it emerges that connectivity to the development is not available via standard providers and an expensive wireless network will be required. The cost of the project has increased, and so the time and scope will have to adjust depending on the priorities of the business.

Understanding that time, scope and cost all have an influence on one another is important, but what is also essential is understanding which of the three constraints or sides is ‘fixed’. For the car dealership example, the time is fixed and so there will need to be flexibility with scope and costs. The scope of the creative agency’s project is fixed, dictated as it is by the directors, but they will need to understand that in increasing the scope they will also need to increase costs and possibly time. And the housing developer needs to establish which constraint is fixed – if it is cost then they will either need to reduce scope (to bring costs in line) or increase time (to wait until better connectivity is available).

Achieving Quality Output

Time, scope and cost combine to deliver quality in the output of a project. Understanding the quality of output required is important when setting the three constraints: increase time, scope and costs and you will increase quality, but remember that the same applies the other way. It’s important that all stakeholders understand this and are realistic about what is required to produce an output that meets the quality required.

At TSC Projects we believe that the project management triangle is an important concept that should be understood not only by project managers but also by stakeholders. If a project is planned and executed with the project management triangle in mind, it will stand a great chance of success. If you’d like to learn more about how we successfully utilise the project management triangle, please get in touch.

Effective project management lowers costs, improves stakeholder satisfaction, and allows you to gain a greater competitive advantage.

What comes to mind when you think about project management? Do you use it? Is it a necessary evil? Do project managers actually do anything, or are they just sitting back whilst others work around them?

At TSC Projects we’ve encountered all manner of preconceptions when it comes to project management. So in this blog post we’re going to start at the beginning: what is project management, and why is it important? We hope that, once you’ve read it, we’ll have shifted some of those preconceptions and started to explain the true value that project management brings.

What is a Project?

Let’s not try to run before we can walk. What is a project? Broadly speaking, a project comprises the following three elements: –

  • Outputs or Goals: There needs to be a goal – a reason for a business to undertake a project. Some projects have multiple, complex goals; others have one goal, and it’s straightforward. But there should always be an output of some kind behind a project.
  • Teamwork: Projects invariably require teamwork between otherwise disparate parties. These parties can be within the same organisation or representing third party suppliers. They can be in the same building or half-way across the world. But they need to work together as a team to achieve the project’s goals.
  • Temporary: As a rule, projects take place outside of a business’s everyday operations. Your Finance Team does not need a project to carry out its everyday purchase ledger activities. However, it probably will require a project to upgrade or replace its purchase ledger system.

Each project is unique, and so the three elements above will apply to a greater or lesser degree. But they should always apply. So, now we know what a project is. What is project management?

What is Project Management?

The Association of Project Management, an organisation that is committed to developing and promoting project management, describes project management as being “about people getting things done”. And at its most basic, that’s what is!

Consider the three project elements described above. Project management touches on each one: –

  • Defining Goals: Why is a project necessary? What are the defined outputs, and is there a business case to justify the outputs against the required investment?
  • Bringing People Together: This element of project management is key. Effective project delivery will often involve getting disparate parties to work together towards a common goal, even when their individual roles are entirely separate. They can even conflict. Consider a new office fit-out: the connectivity provider needs to install a fibre circuit to the comms room, but their plan conflicts with the interior designer’s proposed office layout. Meanwhile the IT provider can’t (or won’t) attend site to install equipment until all of this has been resolved. Sound painful? More than likely, but effective project management will overcome these issues and bring the separate parties together.
  • Being There When Needed: Since projects are temporary, project managers need to be adaptable to different requirements. At TSC Projects we understand that projects are transient, and that effective project management requires flexibility and adaptability.

Project management, then, is “about people getting things done” to carry out projects that deliver outputs to businesses. But why is it important, and how does it deliver value?

Why is Project Management Important?

Effective project management is essential to successful project delivery. But more than that, project management enables businesses to deliver the most value from their project investments: –

  • Lower Costs: Project management defines costs and then manages them throughout the project lifecycle, ensuring that they are agreed between all parties and do not spiral out of control.
  • Improve Stakeholder Satisfaction: A single project will have many stakeholders, all of whom have different needs. Project management improves stakeholder satisfaction by ensuring that the project scope takes into account these needs, balances them and delivers to an agreed level to all stakeholders.
  • Gain a Competitive Advantage: Through significantly improving the chances of successful project delivery, lowering costs through efficiencies and budget management, and taking into account the needs of all stakeholders, project management delivers value that allows businesses to gain a competitive advantage.

So, quite a lot to consider. But these are the fundamental elements behind project management, and they are important to the services that TSC Projects deliver to our customers. In the next blog post we’ll go into a little more detail around time, scope and costs, the three key attributes of project delivery. In the meantime if you’d like to discuss any of the points raised in this blog post, and how they apply to you and your business goals, please feel free to contact us.

One of the key obstacles that we come across as Project Managers is delivering projects on time and within budget. This is especially true when project resourcing on a tight budget.

In a Project Manager’s ideal world, budget would be limitless. This is utterly unrealistic, of course, and would mean that the project management triangle wouldn’t exist. In the real world, budget is one of the key constraints in managing any project.

Following the project management triangle’s triple constraint, understanding how budget (cost) affects time and scope is essential to effective project delivery. When you are project resourcing on a tight budget, though, it takes on added importance.

In this blog post we will give an introduction to how project budgets are set, and provide some pointers on how to manage project resources on a budget.

Top-Down or Bottom-Up Budgeting

If you’re creating a budget, there are two approaches that can be taken: –

  • Top-down budgeting is when a budget is set for a project as a whole, and then the individual components of the project are costed to fit. This can bring efficiencies in project delivery, but relies heavily on predicted budgets which can be found to be unrealistic.
  • Bottom-up budgeting is when the individual components of a project are costed, then combined to give the budget for the project as a whole. This allows for more accurate budgeting, but issues can arise if components are omitted or not anticipated.

Whichever way you set your project budget, as a Project Manager it is your prerogative to meet it. How do you achieve this, especially when the budget is tight?

Four Ways to Manage Budget Effectively

We believe that, if you keep the following four considerations in mind, you will be well placed to deliver your project on time and within budget: –

  • Effective Project Definition and Planning. If you set unrealistic targets during the definition and planning phases (as described in our recent blog post on The Five Stages of a Project), you’re setting yourself up to fail. Make sure that you understand the time, scope and costs of your project, and ensure that they align.
  • Continually Assess Budget. Throughout the lifecycle of a project, unforeseen factors can be introduced that affect time, scope and costs. This could be scope creep – where the scope of the project changes from that which was originally agreed – or it could be an issue with the time to deliver an individual project component. Make sure to continually assess your budget throughout the lifecycle of the project in order to ensure that it remains on track.
  • Keep Stakeholders Informed. It’s important that you stay in control of the project’s budget, and it’s important that the stakeholders are informed too. If an individual or team responsible for a particular component is unaware of a change in available budget, they could make decisions that are detrimental to the delivery of the overall project within budget. For example, if budget has decreased and time has increased to compensate, you don’t want a team to work costly (and unnecessary) weekend overtime because they weren’t aware of this change.
  • Keep in Mind the Project Management Triangle. This should go without saying, but it bears repeating: keep in mind the project management triangle’s triple constraint. It applies throughout a project, not just during the definition and planning phases. And remember, if any of the constraints change and the other two do not adjust to compensate, it will not be possible to deliver the project effectively and to a high quality.

Project resourcing on a budget comes with its challenges, and there’s no magic solution to alleviate the compromises that tight budgets can bring. However, through intelligent preparation, regular assessment, effective communication, and thorough understanding of the triple constraint, you can achieve successful project resourcing on a budget.

At TSC Projects we are well versed in delivering projects on often tight budgets, and we make sure to work with businesses to ensure that scopes and timeframes are set realistically and met successfully. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how we achieve effective project resourcing on a budget.