Tuesday 7 December 2021

Keys to success Project Management

Project management is an abstract learning, practice has proved that the project can be brought to success is not a fixed trick, nor is it the standard of all four seas. 


On the project management road, the detours and pits that have been taken can be very valuable experiences and lessons learned. this article summarizes the three key project management keys and is shared with all project managers or partners who want to be project managers.

Manage risk based on facts, not feelings


Risk, has been a headache for project managers, customer relationship handling is a risk, delivery scope expansion is a risk, demand change is a risk, teamwork is a risk, sometimes many risks will come together, so that project management such as thin ice, a little careless will lead to project failure.

In addition to real risks, there are many projects that are tied to "imagined risks". in other words, many risks are not unsolvable, but we think we cannot.

My last project, the customer is responsible for the algorithm, the delivery team is responsible for the application, just less than three weeks before delivery, the team proposed that the customer's algorithm has a bug, will lead to some of our ability to solve problems outside the scope of the problem, so reported a high-risk warning, and produced a pessimistic feeling that the project is bound to fail.

Later, we did problem sorting and cause analysis, but the results were much more than we expected, found that most of the problems came from the application, the application parsing outside input is too fragile, and there is no good fault tolerance mechanism, the application read the algorithm set the wrong parameters.

In other words, the team fell into the pit they had dug for themselves.

We also combed and recorded all the sensory-based issues, and after the project, we reviewed them together, which was a profound education for all.

During project delivery, the team may face a variety of complexities, sometimes need to surprise learning, sometimes need to work overtime to catch up, these challenges may become team pressure, under pressure the team is likely to become pessimistic, when a person's pessimism into a group of people's pessimism, the team lost the objective judgment of risk, this time the most needed is the facts.

Therefore, the first key to project management: in the face of risk, we need to do more analysis, management risk, must be based on facts.

Manage customers, more communication and less guesswork

Many project managers consider account management to be the most challenging part of project management, and there is nothing more complex than decision maker management.

Decision makers usually come from the top of the client' hierarchy, sometimes the person who pays, they have ideas, they have a voice, but their special status determines that they are generally busy, not the person we meet directly in the project.

If the decision maker is not well managed, the following scenarios often occur:

  • halfway through the project development, decision makers appear, overturning most of the functions done well;
  • Showcase when decision makers provide feedback, the rules are changes in demand;
  • when the key business functions find him to clap the board, about time, can not find people.

It's a lot more like this, the development team usually speculates that important people are busy, that our project is not his priority, and that we can't do anything about it, even though we need him so much.

But when you ask the development team if the decision maker knows he's important, if he knows he could be the risk and biggest bottleneck in project delivery, most of the time, the development team is at a loss because very few people and decision makers confirm that guess.

This is the second key to project management, and sometimes our understanding of our customers is based on our guesses, not facts.

I experienced a decision maker's incognito project, and expected his absence to be the biggest risk to project delivery, so with the help of a key showcase, we exposed all the shortcomings, and thus attracted the attention of the decision maker, we took the opportunity to communicate with him, it turned out that he and the project to maintain a smooth distance, because he always thought that the project is going well.

Realizing the importance of engagement, he and the team arranged a twice-weekly catch up, and we've really introduced decision makers into the development process since then.

Therefore, in customer management, the customer to produce a correct understanding, so that customers become part of the team, more communication, most of the time will be fruitful.

Manage goals, constantly validate and enhance consistency

All projects are targeted.

This goal is set first and foremost by the customer, what problems the customer wants to solve through a system or digital means, what value, what is the description of these values, what is the definition of success and failure, in addition to digital means what other auxiliary solutions?

The vast majority of project managers are conscious of collecting and clarifying this information.

The team's goals are based on the customer's goals, how the team helps the customer achieve the goal, the value they expect, how the team works together within the team, how the team communicates with the customer, how it defines the scope of development, and what priorities are given, which are often included in the scope of the project manager's work.

Ideally, once the customer's goals are clear, the team's goals become clear.

But the reality is often that every once in a while someone questions whether the team has a goal, or throws out a misconception about the goal, or even thinks that the team is unlikely to achieve the goal.

The project manager may wonder, isn't the goal clear? didn't the team discuss goals together? and everyone agrees? the project manager even remembers where this happened, what he or his colleagues in context said, and what he wrote on the board.

But none of this will help. human cognition is a very strange thing, information is implanted in the human brain, but over time, it will be iterative many times, so different people have different understanding.

"At this point, it would be a big mistake for the project manager to assume that everyone is well aware of the context and has a consistent understanding, based on previous assumptions." if you don't repeatedly reinforce the goals and confirm that everyone has a consistent understanding, something like this can happen:

  • the team spends time developing useless features, resulting in waste, but there is no time to develop important features;
  • there are problems with the system, some people think it should be fixed, some people think it is not necessary, inconsistent understanding of priorities led to a lot of ineffective discussion;
  • customers also have doubts about the development team, which has never understood the business.
  • ultimately, when the customer runs out of resources, the team has no way to deliver an available version that delivers value.

This is also a key issue in project management. to address this issue, the project manager needs to continually validate the assumptions, find out if the team understands the goals and agrees on them, and in particular go to the members who are in the middle of the project to confirm their understanding of the goals.

Even if the team is tentatively clear and consistent, project managers need to constantly reinforce the goals in order to help the team align as much as possible and increase efficiency.

There are many reasons for a project to fail, and if you encounter the above reason, it is possible to cause a project that appears to have a high probability of success to fail.

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