Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to Avoid Project Management Failures

These days, project management can be a touchy subject, especially when it comes to project failures. But, knowledge, strategy and precautionary tactics can help project managers avoid serious project management pitfalls.

Here’s what leaders in the industry shared with Fierce CIO recently about tips for avoiding project management pitfalls.

Don't expect immediate results.

"If you're a tried and true waterfall type of project management shop and you go in and change to an agile shop, that's a big change… in principles and also asking a lot of people to partake in that change. Some folks are resistant to it, especially if there's not an immediate payoff. The immediate impact will actually be less effectiveness, maybe less efficiency, but you have to hold true to the fact that long term, it's going to pay off." - Randy McGraw, SVP of technology and operational services at service provider West IP Communications

Have a project leader to provide feedback.

"You may know the technology and service inside and out--but it is still important to have someone on your side who can actively participate and provide insight and things of nature change management." - McGraw

Don’t let deadlines run your project.

"Let's focus on the right solution [first] and then figure out how to get it done in the time frame we have to. Whether we have to [divide it], phase it, or defer some work. Taking that approach of what's the right end game and making sure you set your project and your approach up to get you there ultimately is most important…Help people from falling into those pitfalls of time-driven decision making." - Kevin Riley, CTO of Sonus Networks

Approach project management one step at a time.

"When you do these projects, they can be very complex [and] you can get caught up in looking at the full body of work and all the details, and it becomes hard to wrap your head around the plan.” - Riley

Stay detail-oriented and streamlined.

"Make sure you minimize details, but also make sure your plans around those [finite number of] details are perfect."  - Bill Scudder, CIO of Sonus Networks

Avoid bureaucracy. 

"I try not to have a lot of bureaucracy around project management because I think that can actually slow things down." - Scudder

Provide feedback throughout the process.

"We do start with a process where we have an exec review board for large project.  We call it the IPAC. IT project approval board.  They come and present the problems they're trying to solve, the resources they need, etc.  If they're stuck, we also do a traffic-light review… so we have a funnel of large projects that go through that.” - Scudder

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