You know the scene. The team has tried to get back on plan but everything seems to be going disastrously off the rails and no one quite knows why. The budget is shot, the team is disorganized and the finger pointing has begun. Senior executives meet in a fact finding effort to identify the problem and hope to find a solution.
If this were a movie, this is when a stranger walks in with sage advice that cuts through the fog and brings clarity to the situation. If this is your company, it is where a savvy consultant comes in and tells you which of three things went awry in the project, and what the next course of action can be…
Continue reading and learn how projects go off the rails!
There are typically three key ways a project goes bad, and here some thoughts on how to avoid or solve these problems moving forward.
- It wasn’t defined well. Define the project so you know what it is, and more importantly what it is not. If you’re well into the project, step back and define it now. Do it in 25 words or less.
- Plan it well down to two week increments out six months (it can me more granular after that). The more granular the plan, the more people need to understand the details sufficient to where the issues are or are going to be. Plan it as a team so the entire team owns it, not just the project manager. The project manager must hold the team accountable.
- Manage the scope creep. That’s only possible if the first two steps have been taken. So if something gets added, you need to be able to define the impact to the project and then decide whether or not that is acceptable for the project. What often happens with scope creep is many small changes sneak into the project. And contrary to popular opinion, it is not the marketing team that causes the most scope creep. It is usually the engineering team… If allowed to go unchecked, your project will never get done.
These drive 95% of the issues that cause a project to go off the rails. To get back on track you must redefine, re-plan, and brilliantly manage your project.
Rich Gall: 651.214.5761 or email [email protected].
One of the most frequent questions we are asked is how we, as outsourced project managers, can expect to deliver superior results for our clients over internal project managers. The perceived challenges we supposedly face include having to adapt to a culture, learn a product, meeting the people, and working within a new team.
Some of these concerns are standard questions to outsourcing anything, but when it comes to project management, often these perceived obstacles to success are actually accelerators. We often step into an environment where the strengths of being an employee of the company, someone who knows a product and the people, doesn’t translate into being a strong project manager.
Each of our project managers come with a skillset for getting the job done which requires knowledge of the industry, executive management skills, motivation ability, and working with their peers and their bosses brilliantly. This allows for easy integration into managing a project team. But to accomplish this, Waddell Group requires members of our team to check their ego at the door. This is necessary because the success of the project we have been hired to run must be owned by the team and company of the project we have been hired to lead, and not our very talented project manager.
Along with this, our project managers are technical project managers and very skilled at getting medical devices through design, testing, submission, studies and ultimately launch. It is having this experience with multiple companies, on numerous projects, in many environments that gives us the ability to adapt, manage and run a project successfully. The strengths of the companies we work with, including their culture, products and people must conform to the process of taking a medical device to market. We are immensely skilled at managing that process. This is why our clients bring us in – they know what they want done and we know how to do it. This is also why we have so many success stories.
By Rich Gall [email protected] 651.214.5761