Projects that have clear and ongoing project communication issues eventually become plagued with problems. You’ve probably seen it before: The people responsible for managing schedules and monitoring progress are seen huddled in a corner solving problems, but the issues they’re working on and the solutions they’re developing to address them aren’t always communicated outside the…
When time is tight and there’s pressure to get a project underway as quickly as possible, it might be tempting to ignore concerns that might keep you from revising a project plan that is out of whack. You probably know the feeling—you’ve seen the plan but you don’t think it can possibly be executed as…
Now and then an organization may encounter sensitive projects. It might be confidential internally, such as initiatives that will result in the relocation of a portion of the company or lead to a reduction in the overall workforce. On the other hand, projects could be sensitive outside the business because they are intended to change…
Project managers can usually spot scope creep once it appears, but by that point the damage has already begun and it’s a challenge to get things back in line. Sometimes the hardest part of fixing a problem is knowing why it happened in the first place. That’s the case with teams that find themselves hindered by a scope that has grown out of control.
Project managers sometimes discover there are multiple versions of the truth existing within their team. One sub-group thinks it’s on track—in reality, they’re working from a schedule that’s out of date. Another department is late on several key activities, but they haven’t updated the master plan so no one else is aware of the delays that will soon affect their own scheduling. Or an outside vendor has almost completed a custom piece of equipment. Unfortunately, they don’t realize the specifications have since changed.
One hallmark of nearly every project team is constant activity. Everyone is engaged and occupied with their tasks. They’re adjusting their workloads to ensure nothing falls behind and they maintain proactive communications across the various cross-functional sub-teams to move the project forward. But while these day-to-day efforts are an important component in success, PMs must be careful that they don’t confuse effort with the real bread and butter of project management: results.
It isn’t uncommon to encounter challenges during a project. Teams may lose a key member, putting additional work on everyone else, or a critical material might suddenly become unavailable. These problems are relatively routine and most PMs have the experience and resources to deal with the issues without derailing their project’s progress.
Scope creep is a problem that plagues projects across the spectrum. Small or large, simple or complex, a project’s success can be threatened by stakeholders eager to add just one more activity to the list. If the team doesn’t know how to keep those parameters in check—or if they don’t have the tools to know when the approved scope is in jeopardy—they’ll have difficulty resisting requests to take on more than the project’s budget and target timeline can support. Failure often follows, as the Project Team’s resources are expended early and the schedule falls apart.
Fortunately, there are some strategies organizations can implement to help maintain order and eliminate ballooning project boundaries. These approaches will also aid in avoiding the related schedule delays and cost overruns, not to mention the strain on team members’ workloads.
Has your project team ever overcommitted itself? It’s a surprisingly common problem. There are many ways a team can overcommit. Some promise to achieve too much. Others promise to deliver reasonable results on an unrealistic schedule. It’s also possible that a Project Team consistently meets expectations and sticks to the agreed-upon project timeframe, but at costs that exceed the approved budget parameters.
Information is one of the core pillars underpinning every successful project. With the evolution of technology and more compute power available than ever before, there’s little reason centers of excellence should continue to rely on data that may be days or even weeks old when it comes to identifying potential issues, forecasting activity schedules, making strategic decisions, and pouncing on opportunities in the marketplace.