Project Delivery Methods that Drive Success
Project methodologies are forever shifting and evolving. The truth is that no matter which method you choose for project delivery, the goals remain largely the same:
· Deliver on time
· Deliver on budget
· Delight the customer
Whether you’re in IT, consulting, marketing or some other form of project delivery, you may be familiar with one or more of the following types of methods. And if your organization is like most, you’re using more than one in a hybrid way.
Waterfall – A more linear approach to project delivery, this is essentially classic project management where each stage of the project, from requirements to documentation through to release is charted and dependencies are set. This method is great for easy estimating and scope definition up front but doesn’t allow a lot of flexibility and creativity as the project progresses.
Lean – as the name suggests, Lean PM is about focus and cutting away wasteful processes and cycles. By centering on customer value to identify what the customer actually wants, instead of what they asked for, this is all about solving a problem versus delivery against a business case.
Agile or Adaptive Project Management – Balancing customer vision with team execution, Agile or Adaptive PM is iterative and incremental. Beneficial for creative projects with flexible goals that can be modified as needed along the project delivery process. Timelines and budgets, however can be hard to define and manage to ensure
Scrum – A type of agile process where teams commit to working within the larger project scope to deliver work in sprints, or subsets of time within the project. For projects requiring fast on their feet thinking, this creative approach to project teams leads to more collaboration, but can foster scope creep if not tightly controlled.
Kanban – Continuous workflow and outputs are the main priorities in Kanban managed projects. By breaking down the workflows and representing them visually (you may be familiar with sticky notes or white boards depicting project processes) this method is best for understanding time spent but can be limited when scope shifts and changes.
Prince2 – Projects IN Controlled environments (PRINCE2) is a more recent method for delivering large-scale projects. Its popularity is due to its effectiveness at defining the business reason for the project, including understanding customer, need, user, benefits and costs. This is a very structured project delivery method – so much so that a certain amount of training is necessary and it isn’t the best PM solution for smaller projects, where the effort to execute may be overly burdensome
There are more methodologies out there, and new ones evolving every day as organizations borrow from two or more methods to create a better fit for their organization. All in the pursuit of excellent delivery.
To delight customers.
But the best delivery organizations understand that delivery to customers is only a piece of the puzzle, the true success metric is a project delivery strategy that balances the needs of internal and external stakeholders and beyond. As PMI indicates in their recent post the best delivery leaders worldwide have successfully broadened their delivery thinking to include social and global considerations. This trend toward wide consideration of impact is something every project manager should be aware of as they determine a project strategy.
Developing Your Project Delivery Strategy
How you plan to deliver your project, or your project strategy, will inform which method or mix of methods you ultimately go with. Consider the way your project needs to work with stakeholders:
1. The customer and delivery team are both stakeholders: go back to the idea of agile and understand that certain types of projects require regular inputs from the project acceptor (most likely the customer but possibly another internal team) — this integration is best managed by establishing key milestones within a project which act as times when both customer and delivery can come together to agree that things are on track
2. But wait, what about the end user? Ah, thanks for asking! Many projects, especially ones that involve longer term IT solutions or software, also integrate not just the customer but the actual people who will receive (and ideally benefit) from the outcome of the project. Incorporating feedback and insights from end users informs development and de-risks project delivery and may push you more toward an iterative approach.
3. And, of course, a critical element of your project strategy should be ensuring that what you deliver will ultimately make money for your organization. Understanding the larger goals of the organization, the expected billable utilization of your team, and the anticipated profit margin of a project should also inform your project strategy. At Projector we’re keenly aware of this need to balance the goals of your project with those of your business, it is fundamental to our approach to PSA software.
PSA Project Delivery Software
Your options for project delivery software are many. Look for a solution that mirrors your delivery strategy and is flexible enough to accommodate your hybrid approach. Project management software should allow for collaboration by internal and external teams, analysis and flexible reporting.
And ensure that systems within your company are able to integrate with your project management tool, to facilitate project accounting, resource scheduling and time tracking. If you’re using a best of breed PSA project delivery software you will have this functionality built in, taking the burden of administrative tasks off the project manager so they can focus on project deliverables in pursuit of delivery excellence for all involved.
Thousands of projects are managed every day in Projector’s leading PSA tool. Reach out to us to learn more.