(Most) Project Managers are all too aware of the methodological principles of Project Delivery, and the application of supposed best practice within their client sites. However, even when those are adhered to, it absolutely does not guarantee a successful outcome, an easy transition or even an interpretation that things went smoothly…So, why?
A quick caveat – I’m not pretending to be relaying information you aren’t already aware of, but it’s often forgotten, discounted or poorly executed…we’ve all been guilty of it to varying degrees.
You can easily cite the common pitfalls, such as a lack of project definition, undefined prioritisation processes, and forcing organisations in to a structure they’re unfamiliar with etc. etc. The truth is, as long as the client is willing to accept the information, a good Project Manager will set the correct expectations around these facets, and be flexible and dynamic enough to mitigate against failure in these circumstances (to a point). Following the outputs of your project sizing tool will help you identify these gaps. (Need an example, contact me and i’ll share with you what we use.)
So…We know flexibility and communication are fundamental in optimising your chances for success.
Another fundamental aspect is that your approach as a Project Manager has to compliment both the involvement of the client, as well as the maturity level of the organisation going through that change.
It’s no use reading out of the ‘PRINCE2 prayer book’ without the insight into it’s applicability within the type of organisation you’re working for. That’s arguably just as bad as having no methodology or process at all.
So focus on the client’s involvement, after all, your skill set as a Project Management Consultant (should be) a given. As part of any Change Readiness Assessment, be it formal or informal, an acute understanding of the following elements in relation to your client, should shape your approach. Even when the ‘Customer involvement’ is minimal:
- The ongoing BAU strain on internal resource
- Previous project implementation experience and involvement
- Domain experience within the team
- The expectation both set and expected around involvement & utilisation
- The expectation both set and expected around Roles & Responsibilities
- The propensity to accept what is involved from the client throughout the delivery – Just mentioning at Project Kick off time that you’ll need sign off, prioritisation, Change Management feedback, Test Feedback, Traceability, UAT and Training involvement etc. won’t be enough
- The level of governance both required and tolerated – Some clients want it all, some by exception, some are enthused by visibility and some feel alienated
- A commitment to the philosophy of implementation you both decide upon and it’s communication to the business from the business
Successful implementation of a project management methodology requires more than just an awareness of it and the processes, technology, policies and standards integrated with other management processes and systems.
It requires a high level of empathy in the current and ongoing state of the business you are engaged with. This will help foster the all important communication, collaboration, cooperation and trust you’ll need to maximise success. Remember the client is more often focused on the outcome…not your outputs.