Projects across all business sectors are invariably time-sensitive, each with its own probable and improbable problems. However, the potential issues that may delay a tech/IT project are myriad and complex.
Listed below are some of these issues:
- Depletion of resources
- Changes made in the project scope
- Failure to get timely delivery from vendors
- Poor planning of the project timeline
- Unrealistic project deliverables
- Ineffective communication between main stakeholders
- Unpredictable external changes
Regardless of what caused the delays, it can be costly, leading to disagreement, litigation, project infeasibility, and many more. Nonetheless, that does not mean these issues cannot be mitigated and dealt with since successful IT companies do so regularly.
One way to ensure your tech projects stay on track is to undertake a comprehensive IT strategic planning process. It involves setting long-term goals that serve as a roadmap facilitating decision-making in the face of inevitable challenges and changes.
Micromanagement: Micro Goalsetting
Micromanagement is of the utmost importance for streamlining and improving a product-oriented project’s outcome. Micro goalsetting is one of the key methods used by project managers for speeding up production/development with a process-by-process approach.
Generally, goal setting is the most significant factor determining whether your project will be completed on time. Setting ambitious goals can be great, but it can be frustrating if the team falls short of what’s expected of them. Instead, set goals that can be measured and are clear and realistic. Such goals allow the team to accomplish the project on time and with the allocated resources.
Micro goals are easier to attain because the expectations are more realistic. Furthermore, they should act as milestones for the final goal and stepping stones for the next set of micro goals. When coupled with project visualization, this time-tested micromanagement tool keeps all team members aligned, oriented, and synchronized with the mapped timeline.
Visualize Every Step of the Project in Real Time
Using a Gantt Chart for project management makes it possible for everyone on the team or connected to the team to visualize the entire project with real-time updates. A well-designed Gantt chart application enables the project manager and other authorized project members to:
- Understand the project in detail, its processes, and activities as an interconnected chain of steps that lead to a set of goals.
- Create and visualize a product development roadmap with process-specific small and big goals.
- Track individual and team progress in real-time.
- Communicate with each other directly on the visual interface.
- Identify present problems that are holding up faster progress.
- Identify future problems via the benefit of the helicopter view, which a Gannt chart provides.
- Identify and prevent scope creep.
- Prevent delays by making provisions for all deduced and impending bottlenecks.
Understanding and Bridging the Communication Gap
Effective communication between a technical team in charge of a project and nontechnical, business-end departments connected indirectly to the project. Effective and meaningful communication between them is necessary to facilitate successful collaboration because failure to achieve that will inevitably lead to unnecessary delays.
Although there is always room for customization to best suit the situation, businesses follow a few established standards to bridge that gap.
- When possible, create a single, independent team of all essential technical and nontechnical workers or streamline all project processes.
- When the above is not an option, add a few key individuals from each nontechnical department for better communication and collaboration.
- Essential nontechnical members/departments must be involved with the project right from its planning stage.
- Ensure that nontechnical team members and other collaborating departments are updated with the project’s progress.
To bridge the communication gap, begin by holding a meeting with your team. This team meeting should highlight the vision for your project and allow team members to understand their roles. Explain all the milestones you’ve set and how to attain the intended success. Consider clarifying how the goals of the project will be measured.
Alignment should be the goal and driving force behind each step to encourage collaboration between technical and nontechnical departments/team members.
Communicate in Clear Terms with the Client
The steps, goals, timelines, and deadlines of a product in timelines, and deadlines of a product in an IT project are always subject to change, as several factors can affect each facet of a project. For example, it is not uncommon for clients to want changes, additions, and omissions that were not defined in the original project’s documentation. The project manager should reserve and exercise their power to say no if the newly expected changes are beyond the feasibility of the project’s current scope.
Even if the expected changes are deemed feasible by the project manager and their team, the client must be willing to renegotiate the project’s scope, budget, and deadline. The project manager cannot logically achieve its goals by pressuring its development team to meet unreasonable client requests without factoring in the new scope. If a project manager does take that route, the product’s quality will suffer, and delays will become inevitable.
The client will not appreciate or accept a project’s quality because they were not made aware of the potential problems in the final product that may arise from accepting their request(s). The project manager will be responsible for client dissatisfaction, loss, and poor asset management.
As previously mentioned, communication and collaboration between everyone involved are key to successful and timely product delivery. If a PM fails to acknowledge and communicate the risk of scope creep to the client in definitive terms, neither the client nor the vendor can benefit at the end of the project.