Five (more) tips to make your project experience more successful and a better experience for the team and customer. Here are another five hacks... these being geared toward achieving project success, in general.
1. Perform risk planning throughout the project.
We all know that risk planning and management needs to happen throughout the engagement, however, we often either skip it entirely (content to manage risks as issues along the way) or we perform risk planning once at the beginning of the project and then store it away. Here's a new option... treat it as a living breathing piece of the project and discuss those documented risks during each status call and reassess their status. Don't spend two hours doing this -- spend 10-15 minutes each week, tops.
2. Approach uncertainty as a risk.
Every project has uncertainty. When you don't know if a vendor is going to deliver on time, document it as a risk and start tracking it so you're better prepared to react to it. When the project is only partially funded from the start, know that there will soon come a time when you have to revisit pricing and funding and that the project could go on hold. These are uncertainties and therefore real risks to your project. Track them… discuss them.
3. Be politically savvy - whether you like it or not.
Negotiation to get resources, dollars and cooperation can be a constant struggle. Yet most of us find ourselves doing it here and there on nearly every project engagement we manage, right? Come on, you know who you are. So get good at the skill of negotiating. It is an art form and a definite skill you need to master. For example, when you want a resource, be ready to negotiate with your resource gatekeeper - either on timing or duration of that resources time with your project. Sometimes you can wait or take what is given to you, and then sometimes you need the best and you need that person now. The ability to negotiate - possibly trade a resource from another project you are overseeing in order to get what you want from the resource gatekeeper - can make a difference between success and failure on your project.
4. An organization with remote workers needs a good IT support infrastructure in place.
A good IT support infrastructure is important no matter what. But in today’s world of BYOD and remote workers and teams - like project managers and geographically dispersed project delivery teams worldwide - the need for top-notch IT support is higher than ever. The ability to get something taken care of by support for our project team members in need out in the field quickly is critical - whether they are onsite with the customer or working from their home office in Norway.
5. Screen PM team members as they are onboarded - don’t take skills sets for granted.
Project managers - if you are given any opportunity to screen project team members as they are onboarded to your project, do so. You are probably fine 98 percent of the time, but those 2 percent where you’re not - where there is a bad mismatch in skills vs. need - you are going to wish you had screened them before putting them in front of your important project customer.