Creating Success in Technical Projects...
For engineers and project managers alike, technical project management methodologies are nothing new. They guide management professionals in their conceptual designs on how they want their product ideas to be brought to market and in some cases stake their reputations on its success. The fact is project management success on technical projects has gotten better but the Standish Report from 2011 puts that success rate by their metrics at 34%. Standish on the day cited lack of awareness of the realities around the project by senior management and inter-functional disputes as leading causes of project failure.
So goes wrong and why? To answer that question more fully, I think I would need to write a book so for now, let us focus on the application of technical project management methodologies for success. For those with a few years on the clock in the industry, the competing functional interests and unclear project goals often feed into the failure cycle. This can skew the realism around the project management methodologies applied along with the manner of its application. For example, would you follow a technical implementation to the nth degree of an iterative project management style as prescribed by the project plan even though effects on the user experience from parts of the large product are not fully understood? Many do without question, not adjusting to the project reality in front of them thus failing to navigate the required changes in approach as they proceed through the project.
Creating success in your project is not a perfect science, but there are things you can do to mitigate your risk of failure.
Firstly, when you get a statement of work, make sure it makes sense. Understand your project's use case before talking to designers or developers if your team is not at scale.
When you collate your functional and non-functional requirements, be careful about setting project management methodologies in stone as an immutable object. Assess your projects scope, scale and extendability requirements. Is the product more elastic or inelastic by design? This insight should be gained before you proceed and compile the project plan. You can then use it as a determining factor for adjustability inter-project and a basis for the tentative setting of the project management methodology path for the SDLC. Do note inelastic products by design may benefit more from an agile approach if speed to market (versus scale) is a key non-functional requirement, so stay flexible in your project management methodology decisions.
Know your company culture. Office politics can ruin projects so know where your project team members come from and what team interests they may bring to the table. Interjection and dispute resolution is key tasking of a good project manager to keep things on track. If you are at scale, you may want to consider a DesignOps centric orientation to have on the team in support of your project. The need to understand the design and value of your product is as important as seeing it deployed in production. Product mutation often happens when team interests change the function of a product and its associated values. This can lead to failure.
These tips implemented into your project management approach will assist you in creating a successful project for your company. Often the best planning is defeated by the realities facing us on a project, so being able to pivot mid-project is a true skill and a huge help in your successful career as a technical project manager.
Stay tuned for more on Writing in this blog along with articles on other areas of interest in the Infrastructure and DevOps arenas. To not miss out on any updates on my availability, tips on related areas or anything of interest to all, sign up for one of my newsletters in the footer of any page on Maolte. I look forward to us becoming pen pals!