Failing to Plan, Planning to Fail

We all know how important it is to build a good project plan but what about managing all the inevitable changes which crop up for you and your team? How do you know that when you finally deliver the project that the business hasn’t moved on? Or, even worse, that the new system put in place is already out of date at the time of delivery?

Excellent Team and Communication are Crucial

The following was deployed on a BI project which I was heavily involved in for a well-known car manufacturer.

The project team was set up and roles assigned in a typical fashion: project managers, team leaders and a team of consultants/developers with the required range of skills to undertake to project.

Methodically, the consultants/developers met regularly with their team leaders and discussed their progress along with raising any concerns. The team leaders would then meet with the project manager and relay the points raised in the periodical team sessions.

Project managers would regularly meet with the assigned members of staff from the business and discuss progress, raise any concerns and ask for feedback. As the project progressed, changes appeared and were fed from the business back down through the hierarchy to the consultants/developers.

Although this is a tried and tested approach, which maintains productivity, there was a key twist to this project.

This involved the teams of consultants/developers meeting on a regular basis directly with a team of key users from the business. The important point here is that the key users have a strong background and understanding of their business area.

During these meetings, along with the usual progress updates, the consultants/developers would demonstrate parts of the solutions as they became available. In this environment, the business would be able to see how they looked as well as test the functionality thus giving instant feedback.

The business could, therefore, work more closely with the consultants/developers and help design how the solution would look and function.

This forum also allowed for consultants/developers to ask questions and discuss how the solution would be used. The key benefit, along with better management of change requests, was that the final solution met the business requirements. Not only the business requirements set out at the beginning of the project but more importantly the business requirements at the time of go-live.

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June 14, 2017