During the last decade of delivering a wide range of IT projects, I have enjoyed constantly learning about project management. Striving to improve the quality of delivery for clients is what really motivates me. I thought today that I would gather my thoughts on how to strive for the perfect project delivery…
Great projects start right
A good kick of session between supplier and customer is vital to ensure a common understanding of the project scope, and delivery plans and timescales. Yet it's surprising how often this simple step gets overlooked. If done right, everyone should come away with a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities in making the project a success. It also helps to set expectations and avoid surprises once the project is up and running, giving clients' confidence in the fact that you’re in control and can deliver.
Continuous Customer Communication
We all know how frustrating it can be to be kept in the dark. For all my projects I make sure that at a minimum there is a weekly call or face to face meeting to cover the nuts and bolts of project delivery. Communicating what the team have been working on during the previous week, and plans for the next week is crucial. Making sure all actions are understood and being carried out, both supplier side and customer side, and also looking ahead to key forthcoming milestones and review points.
Quality is King
If there is only one thing you should focus on, it is quality. Get this right and everything else should fall into place. This covers everything from making sure the initial requirements are clearly identified, captured, understood and agreed, to ensuring that the project starts off on a firm footing with high quality documentation. From then on it is a case of regular internal reviews of the developing solution, ensuring that it is being delivered as per the specification, and that it is built to the highest possible standards. The earlier bugs are found and fixed, the quicker it can be resolved for all parties.
Always think 2 steps ahead. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing an issue coming and sorting it out before it becomes a problem. I always try and think ahead to the next day / week / month / project phase to anticipate needs. Particularly in terms of resourcing, equipment, key handovers, etc. This helps to make sure that the supplier and the customer can prepare and get everything ready for reviews, releases, testing and sign offs. It goes without saying that it is always good to complete a project on time, and have a happy customer who is willing to formally accept and sign off on delivery.
If in doubt… Iterate
No one likes waiting for important deliveries. By providing regular and incremental releases it is much easier to assess progress, get good quality feedback, and provide reassurance that the project is on track. There are all sorts of iterative and agile development methodologies out there, and it is a case of intelligently applying the principles that can provide the greatest benefit, without being a slave to a prescriptive process. Whatever way you choose to approach your project, I have found that the lowest risk and highest quality method is to have regular (typically 3 weekly) project releases. These should have a defined set of functionality that can then be tested and demonstrated to the customer. Starting testing and feedback early is vital to running a project in the shortest time and to the highest quality.
I hope you found my guidance interesting and if you want to learn more about BrightStarr's approach to project success and solution delivery, then just click below to discover our unique Kinetica approach.