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Under One Umbrella: The Importance of End-to-End Project Management

communication cansThe old game Telephone is the quintessential example of what can go wrong when the various aspects of a project are worked on in too much isolation. If you begin with the edict of, “Develop a module for quicker communication,” and finish with somebody hiring a model who can talk really fast, there has been a disconnect. That is why Arwen Petty in an article recommends end-to-end project management, in which every component of a project is managed under one umbrella by a single team. It may take some initiative to set up just right, but it promises to never leave your projects at the mercy of faulty phone wires. A project life cycle generally consists of research and planning, task management and testing, and project closure and handover. On paper, the same goal is always being pursued at every juncture, but in practice, different teams handling different parts of the project inherently means misaligned technologies and potential differences in perspective on what the goal means. When technologies misalign, modes of communication and document storage types can mix in messy or ineffective ways, and when this problem cannot be solved altogether, Petty says you must at least acknowledge the concern. In projects where there is a precedent already in place, such as when it comes to software updates, a small, cohesive team can be more effective using their experiences than a larger, less intimate team. With end-to-end project management, agile collaboration becomes possible. Petty has this to say about it: With E2E project management, collaboration happens, but it’s governable in a way that widespread cooperation is not. Using end-to-end is a lot like keeping roles internal; you limit the same risks as you would by avoiding outsourced work, which is so often associated with preventable error. And aside from being a centralized hub that controls a variety — if not all — of the project’s elements, E2E teams have the tools to more quickly assess risks, communicate issues, and recenter project focus when things get off track. With this kind of collapsed responsibility and predictable approach, reinforcing project value to stakeholders can be done with greater clarity. Project goals stay aligned with business objectives, and the simplicity of the process promotes agility. He then goes on to discuss strategies to building end-to-end project management. Selecting the right, simple projects for such a style is important, since, for instance, trying to build a rollercoaster all in-house might be a little impractical. Undergo the usual rigorous risk assessments in advance. Pick out the people for a team who have the right experience above any other criteria. Define what technologies will be used within the team in advance to avoid the issues mentioned above, and make sure the team understands the schedule and goals that have been agreed upon. If your team ever falls out of sync, you can be sure it is your fault. See to it that all the wires are connected and everyone in your team can hear each other loud and clear.

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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