Four Leading Project Sinkholes

Most time wasted on IT projects can be traced to four major reasons:

1. Vague or conflicting project definition and scope

2. Lack of clearly articulated expectations

3. Competing (and shifting) priorities

4. No process established for problem resolution and feedback

Through careful planning and clear and continuous communications, these trip wires can usually be avoided. At worst, they can be quickly overcome with minimal damage.

The secret? Facilitated workshops where team members and business sponsors can openly hash out differences, identify potential conflicts, and agree on key aspects such as project scope, deliverables, and dependencies (see Exhibit 2).

Exhibit 2. Steps to Workshop Success

Step

Outcome

Secure the commitment of executive sponsors, both within IT and with the business side

Sponsors more likely to personally partic ipate at appropriate intervals

Visible management support engenders enthusiastic participation

Involve at least a few team members in the creation of the workshop agenda

Identifies issues that may have been missed

Fosters a greater sense of commitment to the workshop results

Communicate how and why facilitated sessions will play a critical role in the success of the project

Establishes facilitated sessions as impor tant components of a successful project

Sets expectations that everyone will make time to contribute

Identify and invite participants and include representative example of stakeholder groups that lie outside of the project team, such as business sponsors, HR, and marketing

Diverse perspectives can enrich results

Upfront involvement can secure early commitment from important supporters

Create and distribute a preparation package (executive project overview document), which includes workshop objectives, scope, a carefully timed agenda and expected deliverables along with any pre-reading that will increase the value of face-to-face meeting time

Sets realistic expectations Members can more fully contribute to all conversations

Provides chance to revalidate participant list

Assign dedicated roles for each work shop: facilitator and document manager

Ensures that objectives are met in time frame allotted

Output will be made available for immedi ate distribution

Arrange for logistics conducive to creating an open, supportive environment (e.g., space, refreshments, ambiance)

A team that's comfortable and well-fed is more likely to contribute to the best of its ability

In the pages that follow, you will read about a major project under way at Cenemex, a fictitious company that is about to roll out a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) application affecting all 5,000 employees in 16 countries.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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