By Kyle Michel
The Project Management Institute reported earlier this year that 11.4% of investment is wasted due to poor project performance. Large Initiatives involving multiple parties, such as vendor implementations or acquisitions, are of particular concern, considering the large teams involved in the work all with different leadership. These initiatives are often high risk, with significant downstream impacts when something is not properly executed. Having tight project management, especially strong communication and visibility between all involved teams, is key to success. Here are some tips for ensuring your large scale, multi-org initiative finds success.
1) Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities. The easiest way for a key task to not be performed on time is for the responsible party to be unaware or unsure of their responsibility. Potentially worse, two teams or individuals could work on the same deliverable, and then you have spent time and money on duplicative work and now need to sort out which to use moving forward. It is alarmingly easy for this to occur, especially with larger teams. To avoid these situations, clearly define what each team’s role is during project planning, including specific key individual’s roles such as the Project Sponsor or Project Manager. Consider questions like who has decision making authority? Who controls and manages the project plan? Use a tool such as a RACI chart to reach agreement on this and publish it in an easily accessed location to maintain role clarity throughout the length of the engagement.
2) Establish a Regular Meeting Cadence. This will add structure to the initiative and give clear deadlines or milestones for when work needs to be done. Consider how many meetings you need and at what level; for example, weekly or bi-weekly status report outs, monthly Steering Committees, or daily scrums or working sessions. Be careful, however, not to overdo it. Too many meetings (or meetings that run unnecessarily long) can draw significant time from project resources on administrative work. Carefully take into account what level of communication is needed between teams to successfully meet project objectives on time.
3) Determine a Consistent Project Planning and Status Reporting Tool. This is most important for the Project Manager and Sponsoring Organization. They need to be constantly aware of whether the project is on track and, if it is not, they need to know to consider downstream impacts and take corrective action. Report out is also essential. Making clear to project teams whether you are on track or running into issues lets everyone know where they need to focus their efforts. Visibility is key to large initiatives. This tool can take many forms, such as a RAID log, Project Plan, or status dashboard.
4) Setup a Clear Source of Truth. A status reporting tool is one such source, but it goes beyond this. Each team needs to know where they can find the latest and greatest information and deliverables. If this is not made readily available, there is risk of running into versioning control or outdated information getting used to inform further work. Use a tool such as SharePoint, Box, or Google Drive so project teams have easy access to all shared information and can effectively collaborate.
Large, Multi-Org initiatives can be difficult to manage, but upping your collaboration game can lead to outstanding achievement. High Risk, yet high reward. Consider these tips and take the appropriate steps to ensure your investment is not wasted from poor project performance. NEOS has decades of experience in successfully managing these types of projects. Just like other project management tools, our expertise is a tool you can use to actualize your project’s success. Let us know if you would like to hear more!