A few simple guidelines at the beginning of a project can make a huge impact in shipping on-time
- What are the deliverables?
- What does a win look like?
- Create a go live plan at the beginning of the project
- Include what white papers will be needed at the end of the project
- Include what training might be needed for the new technology
- Include what the status reports will look like tailored to the stakeholders of the project
- Create a planned trajectory of the project
- Adjust project trajectory regularly
- Create a materials and feedback checklist
- Detail the impact on the projected timeline each item will have
- Both sides have to be on time with materials and feedback
- Understand the data that will be involved, its the DNA of the project
- Agree to a sign-off and scope changing process
A lot of teams fall behind on a project by debating too many of the tiny details instead of focusing on the big picture. A project manager has to constantly remember that at times providing details of the whole project to the team can be just as counter productive and has to present manageable ‘milestones’ as the high level problem set the team is tasked with solving.
Project stakeholders have a responsibility in the projects success
Creative & Technology projects can take on a life of their own. We’re building infrastructure, and assets here. Some company’s don’t have tech backgrounds and often don’t know how to measure success or understand some of the engineering that goes on under the hood.
A projects timeline will almost always change during the project. Because inch by inch its easy to stay on track, both sides have to write specifications, sign-off on the plan, and freeze any new specifications during project execution. Separate high-level, long-term feature & road-mapping from project iterations. Have project iterations continually lined up to keep momentum and pace.
Plan on life beyond the project.
Ask the following questions:
What will using the end-deliverables look like? Who is responsible for what going forward?
Will the strategy require continually iterating on this project, scaling back, or scaling up at launch?
Is there any knowledge base that will come out of this project?
How is knowledge best captured internally and externally?
What percentage of the results will be re-invested in furthering the successful strategies?
What will the relationship between the vendor and the client look like a year from now?
Learn From Each Project Cycle
Sometimes during standard project management meetings, critical or not, there are moments when leadership, experience, and effort come together to articulate things in a way that can be very valuable to look back on, or learn from. Take these lessons and apply them to the teams practice, conversations and attitudes to unlock the team’s best; often cohesion and momentum can maintain improved performance by implementing these jewels that pop-up during a project.
Take Inventory Of The Results Often
Periodically it is important to consistently measure the results of each interaction, effort, and process the team has in place. When projects are large, complex, and involve a dozen or more highly skilled professionals making adjustments and recognizing patterns in the project early and often will keep a project healthy and as on-time as possible.
Measuring success is rewarding, it demonstrates and affirms the things the team is doing right and helps the project stakeholders get some visibility and comfort with the project’s progress.