Something a bit different to my usual technical posts, but its impact cannot be under-estimated. Culture.

Working across multiple sectors from Not-for-Profit’s too large multinational corporations delivering IT projects with varying degrees of success in a variety of organisation cultures, it raises the question, how important is culture and to what extent does it influence project success as we move further into a digital world?

Its hard to argue that culture sets the tone for your experience as an employee, but we see project successes in transactional hierarchies like McDonalds, as well as clan styles in the Google’s and Apple’s of the world. Giving legitimacy to the existence of subcultures within organisations to deliver desired results.

But how does this translate to the usual; Time, Cost and Scope that are usually referred too. Yet, people are ignored. Focusing on the growth and education of employees in a project as opposed to efficiency; time and cost are impacted. However, opting for an efficient approach often affects quality. Within a project situation, efficiency can supersede quality, resulting in an unfavourable outcome. All of These variables are intertwined and often dependant on C-Level pressure (time and cost) culture is often ignored. Yet, it is possible to deliver success delivering a project late, over cost and with a change in scope. Leaving people as the only remaining entity.

Like it or not, it is only people who create success within projects and how you stimulate, encourage and engage with the team becomes paramount, all of which contribute to ‘culture’. Therefore leaders (both organisationally and project) must live and breathe the desired culture to allow it to transcend elsewhere, while managing their power stakeholders accordingly. A few key tips in how too ensure you create a successful project culture;

  • Consider a desired leadership style for your project (it can vary from the organisation style!)
  • Consider your values and beliefs. Are they people over process?
  • Communicate; constantly, effectively and openly
  • Allow for creative personal and professional growth
  • Create short-term goals for the individual as well as the team
  • Embrace and celebrate success
  • Reflect

And remember; IT supports your people, only people can deliver successful IT projects.