A project does not live or die squarely according to the quality of the project manager, but that is the common perception all the same. Project success does, however, depend upon how well everyone involved has been coordinated by the project manager, which includes not just the project team but stakeholders, consultants, contractors, etc. Eileen Strider draws from personal experiences to write an article about what it means for a “community” to maintain a project.
In her first example, Strider talks about a project whose schedule went off the tracks multiple times and incurred several extra implementation costs, ultimately finding costs had increased 400 percent over time. At each schedule slip, a board of trustees had approved the project manager’s request for more funds, and when the board was asked why they kept approving the requests, they realized they just had not been asking the right questions about why things were wrong. In another example, a VP of human resources did not want to switch over to a new system of employee identification numbers because it meant more work, so the VP of finance customized the system for the HR VP. The result was that data ended up being stored in three separate, disorienting locations needlessly.
You need to protect yourself from taking the heat in situations such as these. Strider suggests the following:
- Build strong sponsor relationships
- Create the project community
- Create a combined functional and technical team
- Share the problems and solutions
- Have working partnerships with vendors and consultants
On creating a good combined team, she has to say:
Instead of creating separate functional and technical teams, combine functional experts, business process analysts, change management specialists and technical staff into small teams organized around business functions. If at all possible co-locate them together or use remote communication tools that bring them together regularly and often. If they are used to arms-length working relationships, help them understand that they together are a team and both functional and technical expertise is needed for the project to succeed.
Check out the full article for elaboration on how to protect yourself from wayward partners wrecking the fun for everyone.