Every business needs to stay competitive and innovation is the usual path taken to achieve this outcome. There are countless examples where innovation through technology has revolutionised or disrupted particular industries, unfortunately, not all projects are successful.
The BBC has captured the struggles of implementing innovative projects in their popular TV program “Grand Designs”. For those not familiar with the program, the host Kevin McCloud steps the audience through the design and building phases of elaborate homes in the UK. The trials and tribulations of each project have similar themes which are true of any project, be it the building of a mansion or implementing technologies for a business. Here are some of my pointers for running successful projects:
Get a Project Manager
All too often people see the project manager as the area to save money or they assign the IT manager to the task. In many cases not having a dedicated project manager can drive costs upwards due to lack of coordination and visibility back to management. Conversely, I have seen cases where a good project manager can reduce costs by delivering the project ahead of time or by calling out potential risks before they eventualise. As the size of a project increases the need for a dedicated project manager becomes ever more critical to the success of that project.
Get the Scope Right
Scope creep! Spending time in the design and planning stages to scope out the project is critical to a successful project. Once in the implementation stage “afterthoughts”, “oversights”, or “Second thoughts” become expensive especially if there is you need to retrofit or shoehorn solutions.
Having a Realistic Budget
Trying to shoehorn in a project that is cash-strapped from the get-go is frustrating for all concerned. It leads to shortcuts, sub-standard implementations or even compromises on the core objectives of the project. This can be a complex task in itself, and speaking from experience, an area that needs attention to detail. Having a 5 – 10% contingency fund is also strongly recommended.
Have a Clear Vision of the Milestones and the end Outcome
Many may not initially see what you are trying to achieve. Be clear and consistent from the outset. Chopping and changing can cause confusion across the project team and the company executive. Clear vision combined with good communication fosters a strong and effective project team.
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