No one wants their project to fail or go over budget however, this is a common occurrence due, in part, to poor planning at the onset of the project planning process. Identifying the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How are the first steps to creating a successful Project Team and Project Plan. Taking the time to ensure that you pick the right team, ensure that your team has the appropriate knowledge, providing a clear communication process and timelines will certainly put your project on the right path.
Who's On Your Project Team?
The members of the project team should be comprised of staff within your agency who are equipped with the skill set(s) necessary to understand the requirements of the project. Oftentimes teams are thrown together based on who has availability rather than the aptitude to successfully complete the task at hand. Picking a fearless leader would seem like the best idea however, you want to pick someone who the team feels comfortable reporting issues, ideas, and problems to. Synchronizing people and ensuring that they have the necessary skill sets and that they can communicate with each other is key in developing a project team.
Can Software Fix All Problems?
Broken internal processes and policies cannot be fixed with software. Understanding and updating your agency’s unique internal issues and process prior to developing your project plan will help to ensure a successful project. Software will only do what it’s told and if you tell it to do what you already know does not work you will end up with a costly project that does exactly what you’ve been doing. Addressing internal process and policy issues should be one of the first undertakings of the newly assembled project team.
How Important is Executive Buy-in?
Project ownership and buy-in is especially important when starting a project. Executive buy-in is vital to a project’s success. Ownership of the project on an executive level enables the project team the authority to request information and testing and expect that the deliverables will be completed within the expected time because your agency already understands that the project is championed by the executive team. Setting up scheduled weekly meetings will help the project team and stakeholders aware of any issues that should be addressed and ensure that any issues in the way of the project are removed expeditiously and expectations are clearly defined and communicated to the entire team.
Are Your Milestones and Deadlines Realistic?
Unreasonable deadlines can doom a project from the onset. Variables are everywhere and each variable will have dependencies that only push back the delivery date of the project. In order to develop a reasonable delivery date it’s imperative that you add in lag time for each part of the project to cover time to resolve unknown variables as they arise. The project management team has to relay to the Executive in charge the requirements necessary to handle the unexpected variable to receive guidance on how to meet the new deadline.
How will you determine:
- Who will be a part of your project team?
- What will the project plan accomplish?
- Where does responsibility for the project lie?
- When will the project be completed?
For more information, tips and useful worksheets for setting up your next project – you should grab our Free Guide: The 7 Deadly Sins of Failed Software Implementations, written by our Chief Technology Officer, Chris Freund. Be sure to grab it here.