Did you know that 80% of global IT projects fail?1 There is a series of errors, whether conscious or not, that seems to have crept into project management practices. From communication and change management to unrealistic goals and poor availability of resources, there are so many reasons why projects can get sidetracked. Let’s discover the common mistakes to avoid that will allow you to take care of your IT project and ensure its delivery on time and on budget
Project Management Best Practices
1. Poor Internal and External Project Communication
Why is effective communication essential? Project management is first and foremost a communications role rather than that of a technical interlocutor, whether within the team or with internal and external project managers.
What is often missing is the interpretation of the project that guarantees everyone’s understanding. It is necessary to communicate clearly with the stakeholders, based on technical information, as well as to regularly clarify things with the client.
How can good project communication be ensured?
Avoid grey areas by holding weekly meetings with stakeholders. Start the meetings with a rundown of progress and challenges, repeat the items you summarize more than once, then do a post-meeting report that you send to everyone to make sure everyone has understood the same thing.
2. Inadequate Change Management
We have determined that communication remains essential to the success of an IT project. The same goes for change management!
Every project includes its share of uncertainties and changes, such as resource adjustments and task variations along the way, which are often unavoidable. Regardless of the project management methodology used, these transitions are not always communicated and documented, as they have a cascading effect on the scope of the project.
How do you make sure you have an effective change management process?
Establish a good internal methodology from the start (e.g. through your PMO or that of your firm responsible for the project), then set up change management and governance processes.
Managing change is about clearly communicating the changes. So name them as they are when they are identified, then communicate and document them so that you can explain the differences later.
3. Unrealistic Project Goals
Too often, unrealistic project expectations affect the success of an IT project. Sometimes this will be caused by a lack of experience in project management, precisely because this experience helps address potential risks. Indeed, despite being by definition subject to contingencies, the person responsible for the project sometimes does not have the maturity to talk about the elephant in the room, alas.
How to ensure realistic objectives and expectations in project management?
In addition to working with experienced resources that can guide you in developing these elements, one of the key aspects is the establishment of a steering committee reflecting the needs of your company and staying on course with your deliverables.
The objective of this meeting is to make certain that all stakeholders are informed, consulted and involved in the management of the project. In addition, this meeting allows you to highlight and very often solve problems with means beyond the reach of the project team. So, in short, it prevents stakeholders from being unaware and solves issues that the project team may not normally be able to solve.
4. Lack of Availability or Participation of Client Decision-makers, Technical and Business Experts
Whether from the point of view of technical resources or that of the client, a project requires constant attention. The efforts required from stakeholders should not be underestimated. Sometimes the perception is that a project outsourced to a development centre like Logient does not require any involvement once its launch has started.
In agile or hybrid project management mode, the scope can often be reviewed during sprints, which creates a need for frequent feedback during the project.
How to ensure the availability and participation of stakeholders in the project?
Obtain commitment from your client and the assurance of his involvement in the project. Dedicate people to your project for its entire duration so that these resources and experts have the full capacity to devote themselves to it with peace of mind.
5. Absence of an Accountable Project Manager
You’ll have understood from the previously mentioned mistakes to avoid that decision makers and technical experts in the field do not always speak the same language. Everyone has their own job to do and everyone has their own understanding of the stages of the project.
How then can you confirm visibility of the scope of the project and accountability for its success without an assigned resource to keep everyone informed of the progress and challenges?
Too often one thinks of saving money by not assigning an experienced project manager, but his absence usually causes more damage to the project and therefore more expenses than hiring one costs.
In short, assigning a project manager upstream to manage and clarify each step of your IT project will save you a lot of headaches, especially since his or her presence will reduce the classic project management errors that we have just addressed: poor communication, poor change management, unrealistic goals, as well as the lack of availability of resources and stakeholders.
Find out now how Logient can support you in managing your projects, whether or not they are outsourced to us!
Written by Carlisle Tabah, Project Office Manager at Logient