When it comes to being successful in business, effectively managing innovative change is more critical than ever. The discipline of project management is one way to plan, develop and execute the changes your company needs to implement to stay ahead of the curve, especially when scaling a global service supply chain.
Here are six best practices we use at Flash Global to scale project management solutions that help our company meet our customers’ and our own ever-changing business challenges.
Before you begin a project, you must first nail down your objectives, goals, deliverables, budget, deadlines, and individual responsibilities. It’s also important to determine how you will handle change control ahead of time. We like to say, “Document it so you can manage it.”
Without this roadmap for success, it’s easy for scope creep to occur, especially if your team is ahead of schedule or under budget. While it’s easy to think that this or that one little addition won’t hurt the overall project, these little add-ons can, in fact, add up to big problems that eventually stymie a project to death and cause cost-overruns.
We adhere to a phased approach, so we capture early wins and move the ball forward before adding new aspects to a project. By being deliberate about project changes, we force ourselves to analyze the cost, time, and resources before we accept a change into the project.
Ask yourself: Why are we doing this project? What is its value, to our customers and our company? Be ready to test the ROI of each project before you begin.
Look at your resources (your people) and make sure you have the right project managers on the right jobs. For instance, someone experienced in IT projects may not be the best fit for an online marketing project.
Consider each project manager’s skills, experience, availability, and current workload to ensure success. Also, think about building your bench by pairing senior and junior project managers together on projects. Such planning prevents burnout and grows your team’s abilities.
When we need to, we hire outside project managers to help us fill a skillset we lack, just so long they exhibit the personality we need, including a willingness to pitch in where needed and to try new things.
In project management, there are often several methods you can use to tackle the project. We always decide first how much and what type of processes are needed to get the job done as efficiently as possible.
For instance, does this project require serial stages or can different parts run in parallel? Will scrum work? Or would the Agile family be better?
We collaborate with our internal teams and customers by using a project charter to outline every project we undertake. As with planning the scope and ROI, it’s important to think before you jump.
Regular, timely communication keeps everyone informed and engaged in the project. You have to tailor your reporting to the audience, whether you’re talking to sponsors or stakeholders, so alter the size and complexity to fit their needs. We like to use Smartsheet.
To maintain a project’s momentum, it’s also necessary to be deliberate about the cadence of your reporting. Whether you issue a dashboard every Friday or once a month, always encourage your audience to ask questions and provide feedback. If a roadblock appears, don’t hesitate to escalate issues as needed.
Throughout the life of a project, your project managers must be open to improvements that empower the business. Adaptability and transparency help your project adjust to fit business needs and supports continuous improvement.
To learn more, watch the full webinar hosted by Flash Global’s project management guru Ted Waggoner, PMP and vice president for the Flash Global Project Solutions Group.