Manage stakeholder expectations throughout the project. Get initial key stakeholder buy-in and keep them involved throughout the project. Establish a process for evaluating which features and functions are actually in scope and which are not – and their impact on the system's schedule, cost, quality, functionality, design, etc.
License, train and use the appropriate automated productivity aids to manage and complete the project – including, but not limited to: automated testing and regression tools, defect management tools, project management/status reporting/progress tools, and more.
Implement effective risk management processes to mitigate the inevitable risks that pop up and can delay or destroy projects. Know how much Risk each party will accept while balancing the other five Elements: Scope, Schedule, Quality, Expectations, and Cost.
Qualified available staff are key to project success. Anticipate and control unwanted turnover which can lead to loss of system, project, company, and industry knowledge. Incentivize best staff to stay.
Project successes, challenges, delays and progress must be communicated honestly and regularly so that decision-makers can properly appraise and address any issues. Comparing team productivity to initial project assumptions reveals where help or re-estimation is needed.
Build in appropriate and reliable Quality Assurance (Are we doing things right?) and Quality Control (Are we doing the right things?). Internal QA/QC and IV&V teams should review the selected SDLC and make sure it is enforced. Perform Static Analyses in your development and testing regimens as dynamic testing will unearth only 85% of the errors at best. Quality Teams and IV&V should review key project decision, and ensure formal change control is in place and working.
Readiness for Go-Live. Go-live readiness checklists should be monitored for system, staffing, operational & organizational readiness. Resources must be readied, trained, and in place. Even the best systems take 3 months to settle-down and work smoothly post Go-Live. Others can take up to 12 months or more, and be filled with chaotic, reactive emergency fixes, workarounds, and extensive overtime, if improper shortcuts were taken during development.