[Survey] Most important element for a successful project?

Hi everyone! Here’s a survey that hopefully generates some productive discussion.

Question: What is the most important element, from the options below, necessary for a successful project?

Details: Select an option below, and then you’ll be able to see who else voted, and the results from all votes. This is a simple question, that is hard to answer…

  • Technical knowledge
  • Ethics
  • Community involvement
  • Solid project management

0 voters

I believe having the ability to openly discuss with colleagues is an important element for a successful project. Many times a problem may not have a distinct solution initially and only through trial and error can it be found. It is easy for people working together to involve their egos in their work and it can make it hard to be productive in a group.

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@kreegz123, open communication with a community of colleagues is precisely why I started this website. Some of us will know one another, and most of us will be strangers, but we will all have the same over-arching responsibility of developing safe functional solutions to the needs of the living. Now, you also brought up “ego”, and you’re absolutely right – ego is the father of our limitation. In both professional and personal contexts, over the last approximate 15 years, I’ve looked in the mirror, so to speak, and have worked on my ego. That is, learning how to develop relationships through the burden of my ego. This long-term exercise has really helped me. Personally, I’m a better friend, husband, son and father. Professionally, I’m more energized about my work, and have taken-on diversified work, and learned from that work. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, here, and I hope that offered something meaningful in response.

Difficult question. I think in the end, the PM is responsible for the success or failure of a project. Should a project succeed, it is because the PM worked with the engineers to ensure their ethical work, chose the team based on relevant technical knowledge, and made sure the community was active in the project as well. A good PM can make or break a project, I think.

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In the field of International Development community involvement can easily get overlooked, yet I believe it is one of the most important aspects of a project. A team could implement a system that works perfectly as designed and yet gets no use from the community members. Is this considered a successful project? An example that comes to mind is the PlayPump. A working product was efficiently produced and implemented within the budget. Yet, few of the targeted group benefited from this project and it remains largely unused. As engineers, we must always make sure we are designing what people actually need, not just what we think they need. The best way to do this is to get the people themselves involved throughout the process.

Our team is struggling with this aspect of the project, as the community we are working with is remote and we have infrequent communications with representatives.

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Great points, both @Energy and @NatAnderson. I agree that without really good project management, a project will fail (i.e., budget, timing, communications, community value, quality). I also agree that without community involvement, no project can be successful, regardless if it meets goals and objectives related to time, budget, and function. With this said, I chose “ethics.” I suppose that without ethics, an emphasis may not be put on proper community involvement to begin with, and then, solid project management couldn’t be used to deliver a truly valuable project to a community of stakeholders. Just my thoughts.

In my experience in university governance boards and working in the public sector, it’s crucial to be able to keep every stakeholder involved in the engagement process for making any high-level decision. At the end of the day, there will at least be a couple parties who will be discontent with your decision and it’s important to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard in order to avoid blind spots in a project which can potentially be devastating to cost, budget, schedule and safety.

Thus, the community involvement process is the most important in my opinion.

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I thought I could 2 answers (Solid PM and Technical knowledge) and I picked Technical knowledge since it was the first one. Aside from those 2, being a team member is also important. I believe having a solid leader a crew that have a great technical knowledge and communicates well together are great attributes to deliver a successful project.

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Besides the technical knowledge, I believe team effort. I had work with people who’s strength is TK but they need a PM push to meet deadlines. I’m neither technical or full pm but I believe if someone does has this quality it can contribute to a project.

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Good points, @malejandra.

I think solid project management and technical knowledge are most equally important. You can’t do one without the other. This is also why it’s important for us to work in teams and have people who can handle either both or one or the other.

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I think Technical Knowledge and Solid project management are my top priority to improve. I didn’t have a solid water resource civil engineer background, so i have a lot of information gap when work on project.

Secondary, pm requires a lot of prediction and preparation. There are always unexpected things that come out from a responsible party, consultants or internal.

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All of these are necessary for the successful completion of a good quality project.

I agree that all of them are important, but a good leader/project manager can effectively keep the project on-task and moving forward.

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I believe that Ethics falls in the ‘respect’ category. If you respect the profession, everything else will fall in place. I understand it is not a flashy concept or an item that gets projects financed or lobbied, but I believe that an EOR with good ethics will get much more accomplished in the long run (project wise).
I also believe that Project management and technical knowledge (hours of study) is a subcategory of ethics.
Ethics is the glue.

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Technical knowledge. Although having to choose only one its not fair. Its more like all of them are related to some extent.
But have seen a lot of people managing projects with bachelors not related to the project and, eventually they become masters, but at first its a nightmare to work with them.