ProductDossier solves top 5 Project Management problems
A time-tested adage is that people underestimate the planning, cost, time, and pain required to roll out and implement a major project. According to the Standish Group’s CHAOS 2001 research, 23 percent of IT projects are canceled before completion, 49 percent are adversely affected by cost and time overruns or changes in scope, and the average cost overrun is equal to 63 percent of their original estimates. With these statistics, it’s no wonder project managers face up-hill battles.
Project management (PM) is a tough skill to learn, according to the Project Management Institute, the world’s leading not-for-profit project management professional association.
To project managers, the words project management conjures up visions of data entry, Gantt charts, and long hours spent trying to guess how much money they will need to beg from management to accomplish the job.
Add to this mix the notorious reputation IT projects have for running behind schedule and over budget, and it is enough to overwhelm any project manager.
According to Capers Jones — 30-year project management veteran and Chief Scientist Emeritus of ProductDossier International Solutions Corporation (OTCBB: OPUS), a leading provider of enterprise-wide project and resource collaboration solutions- more than 70 percent of all projects go south. Of the projects that stay on the table, it’s not uncommon for quality to suffer from poor project management.
Problems will crop up with the project, no matter how much time and attention project managers give. These problems require immediate attention. Otherwise, they can snowball and seriously impact the success of the project.
With over 25 years of experience in project management software and consulting, ProductDossier experts view the following top ten list as the most difficult and significant project management obstacles, along with the actions needed to rectify these project management vulnerabilities.
Problem #1: Project can’t begin on time. Project managers are given the assignment but it’s added to an already challenging slate of projects. Yet, they are expected to complete the project on schedule.
Solution: It’s important to begin the project, even if it is only assembling the team and breaking the task down into individual assignments. Project managers need to reevaluate the list of projects, look at those tasks on which they are taking the time, and reconsider their priorities. If project managers are still concerned, they should determine if either the project or other work should be reassigned to ensure the project’s completion on time.
Problem #2: Project has vague requirements. For every step taken, the project takes four steps backward. The project began with nebulous objectives and milestones.
Solution: Projects could be headed for trouble if specifications are unclear and if there are poorly established guidelines that determine how and when requirements can be added, removed, and implemented. To be successful, the project scope must be narrowed enough at the outset to provide a clear path to the project’s end. Before moving forward, project managers should establish reasonably stable metrics.
But even when this is done, in virtually all projects, there will be some degree of readjusting priorities while learning the requirements. This problem can easily be handled with the many project management tools on the market. These tools combine numerous variables to provide realistic projections, even at the early critical decision-making junctures — before requirements are firm.
Problem #3: Project managers can’t stay within project parameters. The project grows in scope as team members work and more tasks are assigned.
Solution: If project managers believe in some balance between work and life, putting in longer work hours isn’t the answer. Because a project coordinates the undertaking of so many interrelated activities, project managers should learn to question each new element of the project.
Ask management how additional projects or features relate to corporate strategy and how they impact current objectives. If project managers must add another step to the project, then they should also consider procuring additional resources to help accomplish the new tasks.
Finally, project managers should establish a new deadline, adjust project plans, reschedule work, and continue to monitor progress toward desired goals. If project managers stick to these steps, they are more likely to achieve control of the project, stay within project parameters, and achieve desired results.
Problem #4: Lack of Strategic Alignment. There’s only one thing more important than doing projects right and that’s doing the right project. An all too common reason for IT projects being canceled is because they never should have been started; that is, there is no auditable mapping between the project objectives and the business objectives of the organization.
Solution: Ensure that each project charter contains and explains the rationale for undertaking a project in the context of the current business drivers of the organization. This rationale should include measurable benefits that will result in the advancement of the business objectives.
Problem #5: Stakeholder Management. Effective stakeholder management requires the identification of individuals who are affected by and/or can affect the successful outcome of a project, especially those who are of a less than positive disposition toward the project objectives. All stakeholders require attentive management to minimize the obstacles of this type.
Solution: Create a truly collaborative work environment where visibility of the work involved in the project and the change which is likely to occur as a result of the project can be analyzed, and discussed by interested and affected parties.
This ensures minimal uncertainty and the wherewithal to keep all interests “on board.” Ownership of risk identification, planning, management, and tracking must also be taken, to then be published to the appropriate stakeholders