Where will your Project Success be in 2016?
As we roll into 2016 and more than ever, Project Management on every level of the company is important to the success of not only individual projects but the most important project – the business. Driving quality customer service internally and externally have to be “project managed” every day closely. Is your PMO (Project Management Office or Operations) and Team ready for 2016?
I’ve had the pleasure of success, learning, growing and failing within small, medium and large companies, also within different industries. Even with the differences, we are all basically the same. Any employee that has worked alongside me will tell you my favorite saying is, “The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s just a different color green.” I truly believe and live this every day. You can see these differences from smaller companies with too much slack in their project management process but great culture to larger companies lacking culture and empowerment and process strong, so strong the employees are processed to death and sometimes this scenario is vice versa. There is a happy medium. Happy being the operative word. What is project success to you? How is it defined in your organization? How is it managed internally vs externally? Does it differ from project to project or customer to customer?
We’ve all done projects we are proud of – We’ve all done projects we’d just as soon forget we were connected to. That’s how we learn and correct our delivery on what true customer service is and how we represent that to our clients. You hear a lot of companies talk about PMO’s. Most technology companies have this already in place just not thinking of it as a unit but separate teams within the operations making it happen. What does your PMO look like? Is it one comprehensive office/team or individual teams? Do you have the keys to success? Are you driving consistency through project management process? Do you know where your failures are and looking, working and planning on strengthening those areas? Most importantly is the entire PMO Team involved with change, goals and connected to the desired results?
There are many red flags that your team and the project has not delivered to the client’s expectations or more importantly to your company set expectations. Here are a few we can all relate to:
- Customer is calling you asking for updates
- The project is running over budget
- Your employees are complaining about planning or scope creep
- Excessive amount of change orders and client not approving or feel like they do not own the changes
- Delivery and schedules have exceeded milestones and/or deadlines
We all know how it feels to successfully complete a project. The signs are spelled out as large as sky writing:
- Customer never had to call you, account manager or executives asking for updates
- Communication was smooth throughout the whole project.
- The project is within budget for your organization and the client.
- The employees are proud bragging about the end results and what they accomplished.
- Limited change orders that client agreed upon clearly understanding SOW and approved changes happily.
- Delivery and schedule met milestones and/or deadlines
- Smiles for everyone. Client is all smiles. Account Manager is all smiles and the Team is all smiles.
There is a ton of advice, experience and processes that have been shared over the years and how to best manage any project. Fundamentals are fundamentals regardless of size, SOW or industry. There are many good topics to choose from. Here are the top 5 things that I feel are a great foundation for a successful project, successful teams, successful company and delivering great customer service through your PMO and teams.
Team and Resources
- You have to staff with like-minded, dedicated resources both technical and non-technical. Good PM’s and PMO leadership are just as important as your technicians and administrative staff. It’s better to not be tied to closely with specific requirements. One good source of advice I read on a LinkedIn article was to “focus on experienced PMs, not just certified PMs”. I totally agree. Experience matters in every position.
- You can help set goals with employees that might not have had the opportunity to “educate” in their prior position to obtain certifications, degrees and training. It’s more important to find a good fit and employees wanting to grow and learn with a team.
- Be careful of “old dog not new trick” syndrome. We want our resources to be flexible to change and learning. I’d rather have “green” and trainable then someone set in their ways.
- If you talk about being a good communicator you probably need to up your game. We can always communicate better, more often and set expectations more clearly.
- Internal communication is just as important as or more important than client communication. Kick Off Meetings can happen more than once. Call them Milestone Meetings. Have them often. Document them. Share them.
- Setting expectations clearly is no more than good healthy communication. Does EVERYONE, and I mean everyone know and understand what’s happening as its happening? Simple, over communicate.
- Always do what you say you are going to do. If not, communicate quickly.
Manage the Schedule and Scope closely
- Do you have a schedule?
- Do you, your team and client all understand the SOW?
- Is everyone aware of the risks?
- Did we clearly set expectations around schedule and SOW?
Pretty simple – if you lose control of schedule and scope – you’ve lost budget, timelines, and possible happy client.
Client Partners are the Best Relationships to have!
- Embrace managing the projects together. It’s a team project and the client is a huge part of the team. Is the client your partner or customer?
- Do you know all the stakeholders? They are also part of the team.
- Mistakes WILL happen
- It’s how you respond and deliver around those mistakes. Always be honest and true.
In summary, whether you are in a small, medium or large organization how we handle our project management operations, teams, processes and delivery will make or break our success. You can sell all day long but if you do not delivery you will not “resell” and repeat business is the best.
Project Management is not just for PM’s. We all live it every day. Create an environment that brings everyone together to create a PMO culture throughout your organization. Encourage team members to make a difference with your customer service delivery. Over Communicate. Manage with the Partner Client. Respond to change and mistakes quickly and openly. Simple easy but great foundation for success.
What would your top 5 foundation for success items be to focus on in 2016?
Texadia Systems, LLC is an audio-visual design and integration firm that specializes in both commercial and high-end residential solutions. The company is located in Dallas, Texas and currently supports clients across the U.S. and Canada. For more information contact us @ 214.956.5820.