What changes do you need?
Are your products and services dropping behind – would a few changes buy you the time to develop something new? Do you need to change the way you and your team work – process, IT or culture? Are the rules that govern your industry changing? Do you need a new product or service?
Project Management is a transferable skill
But it is better when the project manager can understand what you do and help your people come together to support your project and get the most from it.
Delta Swan specialises in projects that help you:
- Satisfy your customers
- Maximise the life-cycle of your products and services
- Implement changes to regulations and legislation
- Improve the performance of your business
- Develop best in class products and services
Never forget your team will deliver the benefits
The people you need to deliver are:
- experts in each specialism needed e.g. a design, purchasing, manufacturing, marketing
- a sponsor – the person accountable for the delivery of benefits
- a governance team – key stakeholders who will influence the direction of the project and support it throughout the organisation
The project manager’s job is to help each of these people deliver their objectives so they and the project succeed.
Have you heard the term 'triangle chaser'?
The least successful projects start with a schedule (aka plan or Gantt chart) and then micro manage the team into delivery (or not). You deserve a project designed to succeed. Here are three critical success factors – you will find more in the Project Life Cycle section of this site. Delta Swan designs every project to succeed.
One mouth, two ears
We must listen to the concerns and risks of our stakeholders. Good communications encourage feedback. And good project teams build feedback into their project plans.
Some people are so smart they know exactly what they want. The rest of us need help structuring our thoughts and understanding other people’s perspectives.
Workshops or facilitated sessions generate ideas, highlight risks and make decisions. Planning a workshop is like planning a project in that we set goals and work out the best way of achieving those goals. But delivering a workshop is a people skill. It requires patience, good communications, flexibility and organisation.
The basics matter. Check your spelling and grammar. Make sure you use project terminology consistently and explain it where necessary. Ask a second pair of eyes what they understand from the communication. Think about Plain English.
Your communications should immediately tell the reader, watcher, listener who you are and that you mean business. But don’t give the impression you have nothing better to do with your time than play with PowerPoint!
Business analysis helps avoid three common failures.
Understand your requirements
Failing to understand the needs of users and stakeholders is a common reason for software project failures. The same applies to business projects. If we don’t have requirements we don’t know where to go. At best, the project fails quickly. At worst, we spend a lot of money and then fail.
Involving the whole team, using data and encouraging contributions helps build concensus, which strengthens your project.
Design your solution
Business Analysis techniques encourage innovation and generate potential solutions. They assess our ideas against the requirements and engage the whole team.
Realise your benefits
To stop projects drifting into becoming the personal domain of the project team, we must manage benefits. This process starts at the concept stage. For example, if a project will save money, we must specify how it reduces costs and put in place actions to deliver the cost reductions.
Managing benefits will impact the project. For instance, an email migration project will only pay back if it removes legacy email servers. So, the project must include activities to remove the servers and goals for the numbers of people migrated. See this post for more information.
The best projects give your people new experiences and they learn new skills. Some may be project management skills, but they are more likely to be the softer skills of working in a cross-functional team. Your people will understand and appreciate the work of other functions and better explain their own work. They will learn ways of exploring new ideas and putting them into practice. And their communications skills will grow.
Each function benefits from new ideas and perspectives which apply across many projects, products and services.
And a good project manager gives you the tools and data that help you plan and deliver future projects.