What are the keys necessary for a successful project? I was at a workshop last month where it was suggested that having great people are the key ingredient for success. I think that’s important, but it’s not the full picture. You can have great people, and still get nowhere if certain other factors are missing.

I quickly scribbled down a list of the 5 P’s I think are absolutely key to any successful project. The SAS have their own 5 P’s, the polite version of which is “proper planning prevents poor performance.” Those are good, but here are my 5 P’s.

Product: For any successful project you absolutely have to have a great product. You need to have a clear idea in your head of the exact service you’re providing, the difference that makes, and the top quality of all that you’re offering. Without a great product, your project doesn’t have anything to offer.

People: Yes, you do need great people. This is because you can’t do it all yourself, and because your thinking on its own is not going to be as powerful as the combined thinking of a team of great people. It’s the great people who can help you create a great product, and deliver the other 3 P’s.

Positioning: You could also call this marketing, branding, or communicating your USP. For your project to be successful you need to position it against the other similar offerings out there. You can have a great product and a team of great people, but without great positioning you’ll struggle to get others to commit.

Partnerships: One of the results of great positioning is that you can start to attract great partners. And partnerships with other organisations are what you need for any successful project to fulfil its potential. It’s the same rationale as building a team of great people – you can’t do it all on your own. But at this stage you’re adding other organisations rather than other individuals to the team.

Priorities: You could also call this planning. But so often the essence of great planning lies in setting priorities. You can’t do everything at once, so what are the essential things that need to be done, and what’s the order they need to be done in? If you can distil the three most important priorities, and what order they need to be tackled, you stand a good chance of seeing success.

5 P’s, all of them necessary for a successful project. Remove even just one of them, and you’ll struggle.

Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.

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