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  • Ian Showell

6 New Project Resolutions

Well a happy new year to you! It’s the time of year where that last glass of merlot gets poured into the sink and the remainder of the Christmas chocolate gets removed from the house and added to the pile in the office. We are saying ‘time for a new healthier me’ and no doubt this enthusiastic burst of will power will last well into next week, as long as we don’t talk to anyone and go straight home after work!

Maybe a better outlet for this new year energy and appetite for self improvement is to look at how we can work a bit smarter? At 2 Aardvarks we love a project, and over the years have learned a bit about what tends to work well, and not so well, when running one. So we have written this list of 6 suggested ‘new project resolutions’ to consider:

  1. Either set the deadline based on how long it is going to take to deliver the outcome you want, or choose a delivery date and then work out how much you can achieve by that date. You can’t have it both ways – if you fix both the deadline and the scope independently, then the only variables you have to play with are quality and cost. You could end up requiring a lot of extra workers or doing something which just isn’t any good. Also, you need to ask the people who are going to deliver the project how long it is going to take, i.e. the analysts, developers, implementation people etc. If they work together and discuss it, they will have the best idea of how much work is involved.

  2. Establish the genuine Minimum Viable Product right at the start. Ask yourself and your stakeholders the difficult questions at the beginning. Do a MoSCoW analysis to establish which deliverables or user stories are Must, Should, Could and Won’t. Then do it again. Then do it again. Keep doing it until everyone in the room agrees that if you took any more Musts out, either the business couldn’t function (even with painful workarounds) or the project would be pointless. Being brutal at the beginning and setting expectations now is much less painful than being brutal nearer to the delivery date. Now base all your estimates on delivering all of the Must, Should and Could stories. You are aiming to deliver everything, but only promising to deliver your Must stories, so the Shoulds and Coulds act as your buffer.

  3. Get the right people doing the right things. Forget politics and organisational hierarchies, if someone is good at something, get them to do it. Even if its ‘not their job’ or they are ‘too junior’. Pay well for good people – if someone is half the cost that is great, but not if they take three times as long to do it.

  4. Don’t waste time at the beginning. Get into 5th gear straight away – the deadline is months or years away, but this time counts as much as any other, so get the whole team up and running and fully productive as soon as possible

  5. Work together and be agile. Set up relationships with suppliers or other departments etc to be flexible with shared goals. Too often partners have different goals in the project and end up working against each other when things get under pressure. With suppliers especially this can come down to cost and pressures on resources from their other work, so try to get a ring-fenced team from the beginning if you can.

  6. Be honest. Most projects come under pressure at some point, that’s just the nature of trying to do a big new thing often in a changing landscape. If you identify problems early, and take action to address them straight away, the project is much more likely to be successful. Don’t bury your head in the sand and wait for everything to implode!

Have you got any project resolutions for 2019? Or work resolutions in general? Leave a comment to let us know!

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