Finalizing a project successfuly takes a great set of skills from all of the participants. The foundation of that is well done project management. Without it, your project will not go anywhere. To avoid failure, every aspect like: risk, cost, schedule or team work has to be taken into consideration. If project gets planned and managed well, you will most likely end up being proud of your completed product. However, not everything can be expected, and sometimes team runs into a wall, faces project management challenges. Project planning is a very tough job, but all hardships can be overcome. With experience and some observation, miastakes can be prevented.
A Project Manager is that person who brings everything together. They create a project plan (you can read about it in our post on project planning) and make sure it runs smoothly in fields like communication, control of completing tasks, and doing everything to help the team members do their best. There are a few things that can thwart their plan.
Prior thing is how thoroughly you have expressed your vision and whether or not the people you were discussing it with have understood you. It is smart for both sides to always ask questions, to make sure you are on the same page. Next thing is the team agreeing on set out tasks, their time to do it and have project’s objectives be clear for them. Once the project is initiated, the team, including you, has to constantly inform each other about the progress and any obstacles they find. Often at this stage, work is probably done from different locations, with all the people invovled. If the network will not be working at the moment, for example, the process might get delayed. If members do not warn others about any problems, the problems will not get fixed on time or will be forgotten about. Some tasks overlap, if members do not cooperate closely, the project will not go on. Communication and it’s ways need to be precisely specified. How, when and who will inform what to who. Project Manager should take care of closing the communication gap between the members and everyone should put an effort into sharing reports. Prepared communication map will stop confusion from bringing the project down. We have touched the topic more in-depth in our post about the communication process.
Goals Defined the Wrong Way and Too High Expectations
When intentions are taken in the bad direction, it is easy to get lost between what needs to be done. If the goals are not obvious and comprehended by team members, the project will have holes in it, and it will soon be recognized that one thing or the other has to be changed in it. That takes all planned steps along, like in a domino. Such incident is called a scope creep. Project starts going in the previously undefined ways. Having to modify the plan mid-way will delay everything or even make the team start from scratch, resulting in time, resources and money going down the drain. Same goes with unreal expectations. It is certain that the team laboring on your product, wants to be as efficient as possible. It is undeniable that generally human desire to be better, surpasses that, what they really are capable of. Many times, people will agree for impossible deadlines, for example, just to prove that they can do it or feel the pressure to satisfy the client fast, or simply not wanting to pass the oppurtunity for the job. But it is not necessarily a smart approach. Stong project plan needs time to evolve. Everything has to be properly analyzed, thought through and agreed upon. Rational project plan prepared patiently, composed along with disscussing it with team members will save the day.
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In order for the project to work in it’s full productiveness everyone needs to put in effort and try their hardest to pursue aims of the strategy and complete the tasks. Handicap lays in things like not enough commitment, inappropraite set of skills or inexperience. Engagement in the project exists when team members know why they are doing the project. Again, the comprehensibility and communication are really important in this process. A lot of the times, people assigned to the project may not be experts in the field and that leads to not recognizing mistakes or functions not working right, which of course, wastes time, money and resources. Hiring suitable people and knowing their advantages, disadvatanges and exact competence to do the job is the correct way to creating a good product. Human resources are literal hands of the project. Even with a good skill, team member might still find it problematic to finish the assaignment. One of the jobs, among many of Project Manager’s, is to provide training for team members. Summing up, qualified individuals have to be picked, fully informed on the project and their tasks, and be supported by Project Manager and other members thorought the process.
Risks Out of Control
One matter, always known at the beginning that will occur – are risks. As Tom DeMarco said:
If you’ve been in the software business for any time at all, you know that there are certain common problems that plague one project after another. Missed schedules and creeping requirements are not things that just happen to you once and then go away, never to appear again. Rather, they are part of the territory. We all know that. What’s odd is that we don’t plan our Project as if we knew it. Instead, we plan as if our past problems are locked in the past and will never rear their ugly heads again. Of course, you know that isn’t a reasonable expectation.
It is good to have all decisions put into the project plan analyzed before initiating and calculate what could go wrong, and what would be an alternative for any potential fail. If risks are not recognized ahead of time, planned for or monitored, team members will definitely have a panic fever, with the project falling apart in front of them due to unexpected problems piling up.
Tools to the Rescue
To improve the process and make sure the project is not threatened, there are steps that the Project Manager and the team can take in the overall approach. First thing that eases things up is a management software. At INVO, we like to use Jira. It helps organize the project plan for team members to view at all times and keep up with the progress. It also allows monitoring risk, tracking completion of tasks, managing budget, resources and documentation. Another thing, creating a documentation on the project and it’s members grants a better plan for product realization, because a Project Manager knows exactly what basic resources they have in stock.
Eyes On the Project Through the Whole Process
Project management is a tough nut to crack and the project plan is a much useful necessity. It takes a lot of experience and paying attention to do the job right. The stress of the matter, is that without the plan and management, the project is set up to fail. Do not underestimate it and be patient. It will take time to complete your product, but it will be worth it, if it means every aspects has been reflected upon. With good administartion your product will be a success, thanks to the help of members’ knowledge and efforts.