Project Management as key for competition
From startups to big corporations, effective Project Management is a main a drive for change. Every major innovation starts as a project which, if validated, evolve into another with higher budget, bigger scope and may eventually become a process within a company. Effective project management is a key to keep up with today’s competitive world, since it enables growth by adapting companies to constantly evolving markets and increasing customer’s needs.
Creating or killing innovation
Poor planning and implementation of projects may harm or even kill innovation within a corporation. Often a project is set as a test to validate certain hypothesis, and a lot is at stake, since the project success is inherently seen as a binary response to a bigger, more strategic question. If project fails, it means that no resources shall be allocated into specific innovation, as inefficient project manager may try to bury the whole idea rather than have their poor management uncovered as a result.
External contractors: the problem of overpromising
When managing external contractors, the clarity of communication and good expectation management are of utter importance. If the scope is not clear and the quality can be discussed, rather than measured, problems will most likely arise. The time constrains are also important: often Senior Managers of consulting companies promise certain deliverables and count on burning out staff with long working hours to deliver towards excessively tight schedule. Results? Dissatisfied client and high employee turnover.
Startup world: everything is a project
In my startup experience everything is a project. I implemented agile methodologies from tech to marketing, as a way of thinking and doing. For example, the idea of experiment driven marketing is to deliver and test small hypothesis in limited time, building on those that are validated and rejecting those that don’t work. With lack of solid, established processes, projects are seen as foundation of day to day activities.
Consulting: the art of closing budget and scope
Although I have never seen a project that would fail entirely, when managing clients on a project basis I had to often mark several items as out of scope and deal with tense situations with a client. What I find it the most challenging in project management so far is to deal with abusive behaviour of clients who first negotiate project scope to fit into smaller budget, which is usually discussed and agreed though eliminating features and deliverables, and then try to stretch out the project to include those parts anyway, without accepting additional costs. Marrying agile approach with sprint limitation toward specific result often means that clients want more functionalities in a solution, without compromising other features. Even though in my experience this was never a live or die of a project, it definitely created tense moments and did not have a positive impact on overall relationship.