tackling large projects
My team and I were recently made aware of the importance of aligning goals at the start of any project. Meeting our client’s expectations was essential to our success, unfortunately the vested parties were not always on the same page, which made steering the proverbial boat that much harder.
Communication and collaboration are such important elements. It contributes toward the team meeting all the relevant needs and achieving the desired end product.
While we managed to complete the project successfully, allow me to share a few core learnings in order for you to avoid ending up in a similar situation.
1. “On your marks, get set…”
It is essential that all teams are involved from the scoping phase of the project, else you run the risk of failing. If your client or the key stakeholders don’t provide input from the beginning, it will cause avoidable delays and most likely inflate the budget. Two things that are dear to any client; time and money.
It’s extremely valuable to have the entire team in the room when a new project is being briefed. Every person who has a vested interest in the outcome has to have a chance to provide input from the start.
This is a huge challenge because you will often hear, “I can’t make this meeting, so get things started and you can brief me in later”. Don’t let anyone do this to you! Find a time that suits everyone and ensure that they participate.
If a key piece of information is not relayed in the early stages it can cost the project ten times more work, cash or pain if picked up later.
2. Spend as much time as necessary making changes early.
Rather spend some extra hours early in a project to ensure that all your bases are covered. Consider the <a href =”http://www.agilemodeling.com/essays/costOfChange.htm” tilte=”cost of change curve”>cost of change curve</a> that is relevant when it comes to Agile development. It highlights that you need to make changes to a project early, while it’s still cheap to do so. The further you get into the project, the higher the cost to change your path.
3. Lot’s of talking
Frequent feedback loops are very important. Constant communication about progress, project tracking and obstacles, new developments etc. needs to be handled on a daily or weekly basis. This also relates back to ensuring that everything that has been finalised align with the overall objectives of the project.
4. Be honest
Recognise shortcomings or limitations. If you can identify any elements that will interfere or limit the ability to get the project done, then you need to address these immediately. Whatever the cause of concern may be, you will need to have the strength to confront these impediments and resolve them before they cost you productivity or delivery.
In summary, take time early on to align everyone’s goals, keep these as your compass throughout and always ask yourself if what you are doing meets the goals, make sure the team is being honest and, communicate often. If you can get this mix right, then your project is on the right track!