In this five part series we’ve been examining what I consider to be key project issues that can turn into real project killers if not properly managed or avoided. In the first three parts so far we’ve covered:
In Part 4, I’d like to discuss the problems that the ever-changing project team roster can cause the engagement.
I’ve always felt that it’s far better to go from beginning to end with the original team you’re given – even if they are lacking in some areas – then to be swaping players in and out. A revolving door for the project team means knowledge transfer to new project resources is constantly happening, all the activities that go into onboarding new team members has to take place, and you definitely run the risk of causing the project customer great concern. Why? Because the knowledge of the project and the skills that have been utilized are regularly leaving. Retraining, learning, getting up to speed, onboarding…it all takes time and will always negatively impact the project schedule and the project budget – at least to some degree. To think otherwise is just foolish.
This type of project resource situation can also be a problem for other reasons. It can be potentially damaging to both your reputation as the PM and to the reputation of the delivery organization. And it doesn’t really matter which side has the revolving resources. If it’s your team, then you’re constantly losing experience with the customer and this particular implementation…and that’s bad. If it’s the customer’s team, then you’re constantly losing your allies and having to start over with individuals concerning where things stand and bringing them up to speed. It’s a frustrating place to be in and that’s why it’s critical to run through the project team functions – on both sides – during kickoff and ensure that you have buy-in from the powers that be that there is the proper commitment to keep the key resources engaged throughout the project.
Few things can undermine an otherwise healthy project like a project team that starts to change faces in the middle of a project engagement. Time is added finding replacements and bringing the new warm bodies up to speed. Customer confidence is diminished as they wait to see if new resources can move in seamlessly and start to deliver without missing a beat. And the project manager can feel an immense amount of pressure from all sides as he tries to keep the momentum going without blowing the budget and timeline in the process. It’s a risky situation and when more than 1 or 2 resources are changed out the chance for project success can be greatly reduced.
In the fifth and final installment, we’ll discuss the concept of the flexible project plan as a potential project killer.
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A Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 9, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV.
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