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The Invisible Enemy to Project Success: Negative Cues

No news is good news? Wrong. Sometimes, no news is a disaster waiting to happen. Bruce Harpham writes about seven “negative cues” in project management—spots where things should happen but never do. If you can learn to spot these cues, the project you save will surely be your own.

Seven Negative Cues

  1. The project sponsor goes quiet.
  2. A previously very outgoing team member stops contributing to the project discussions.
  3. Lower than expected changes from a supplier
  4. No bugs or malfunctions during QA testing
  5. Ignoring strategy planning
  6. Skipping the risk discussion
  7. The missing skills challenge

If a project sponsor gives you dead air, it could mean that the sponsor has lost faith in the project. Find out if your sponsor is just busy or if he/she has booked their ticket for Anywhere But Here. If an energetic team member goes lethargic, it could be a sign of personal problems, and personal problems affect productivity. Determine how it could affect your timetables.

When a supplier charges you substantially less than you were expecting, it could be that you are also receiving substantially less features than you were expecting. Do a full investigation before busting out the champagne and manila wafers. About QA testing, Harpham says:

Software design is complex. Complex systems rarely perform as expected. That means there ought to be some bugs in coding. If there are none at all, two possibilities suggest themselves. First – the QA tester is not looking closely enough. Two – the software in question is incredibly simple and thus has a limited probability of malfunction. Before celebrating your “clean first draft” code, a second QA effort may be in order.

A perfectly executed project is still worthless if it does not actually further organizational goals, so be thinking about strategy and how this work fits into the bigger picture of the business. Likewise, always make time to talk about risk, because the risks always find a way to make time for you. And finally, be weary of lacking necessary skills on a project. Harpham explains that while it is terrific when team members are enthusiastic to join a new project because they want to learn new skills, it can hurt the bottom line of a project’s success if skills are not learned fast enough.

You can read his original post here:

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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