feb 07, 2023

Managing hectic projects with agility and efficiency

  • Artículo
  • project management
  • Agility
  • Efficiency
  • Change management
  • communication
  • risks

Have you ever been assigned to a project that seems simple at first, but then turns out to be very challenging technically, and the schedule and budget kept changing constantly?

While useful, the advent of digital technologies has increased options and can sometimes delay key decisions and change the original project direction. Let’s put it this way: You thought you were going to be driving on a perfectly straight paved road through the fields, but instead, you end up on a winding gravel road through the woods! The vehicle you initially selected, the route duration and the estimated budget may no longer be suitable.

  1. Therefore, to support clients properly, it’s important to manage projects with agility; otherwise, you may risk delays and cost overruns. Most projects are now carried out in fast-track mode, which sometimes gives the impression that you’re building the plane while it’s flying.

    Usually, managing large projects requires a rigorous structure—execution plans, tools, procedures and methods—to stay on top of the project through all stages, from design studies to execution. You also need to adapt your approach to the various stages; for example, in the preliminary studies stage, you need to expect to be more flexible, and this is even more so for projects with a degree of uncertainty.

    Watch for changes

    When kicking off a project, all the aspects are under control, but you need to have a keen eye to detect issues early. The ability to ‘see around the corner’ can be very useful. Project team members can flag a change to the management team who, in turn, must articulate it simply and present it quickly to the client at trend meetings to determine what direction to take.

  2. Having a comprehensive trend program

    At BBA, change management is part of the project control plan. The project control plan is a section of the project execution plan, a key document that must be produced by the project manager and should never be delegated. A comprehensive trend program must include the CAPEX and OPEX components as well as the mandate.

    When the sum of approved trends reaches the threshold agreed upon with the client, they are transformed into project change notices, or PCNs, and their confirmation becomes a formality, since they have been approved beforehand. The PCNs at zero cost are equally important, as they ensure project control is maintained, e.g., if there are changes in the client’s organizational chart.

    It is also essential to add any risks to the register as they come up and to review them every month.

  3. Adapting the plan

    You need to remain agile so you can adapt the plan and structure as soon as the situation changes. Change and efficiency are sometimes at odds with each other, but the following are some good practices to maintain effective project management, even when things get hectic:

    • Keep a simple and adapted monthly report, taking time to recap the information in an executive summary with a dashboard.
    • Limit the number of charge codes, especially for studies. Performance (key performance indicators) is often presented by discipline and not for each deliverable.
    • Separate the list of deliverables into:
      • A list to assess progress and hours required to complete each deliverable;
      • A complete list of deliverables that is updated throughout the project.
  4. Communicating well

    Managers are as well informed as their team members. They must keep communication channels open to access data right from the start of a project to keep stakeholders well informed.

    It is essential to maintain excellent communication with the client, including relaying bad news quickly to protect client trust.

    Changes must be communicated with the team as soon as they come up. Meetings need to be held regularly, ideally either all virtually or all in person, and only inviting those who need to be present. Individual meetings with the client are very effective. And remember that a meeting without minutes is considered not to have been held at all.

    Always look after your team’s mental health, maintain a positive attitude and be an agent of change!

  5. Conclusion

    It’s critical to remain agile and efficient to ensure project success, especially if it involves new technology. The person managing the project must:

    • Identify changes, trends and risks.
    • Adapt the plan when the situation changes.
    • Communicate, communicate and communicate again!

    You sometimes need to make difficult decisions that require courageous leadership. To help with decision making, ask yourself the following questions:

    • What is best for the project?
    • What would I do if it were my money?

    And remember that a good idea that comes up too late is a bad idea!

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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