Stop, Collaborate, and Listen – Fixing Federal Project Management
We’ve seen a lot in the news about the issues (and failures) of large-scale projects coming to successful completion – and specifically, IT projects are at the forefront of high-profile Federal programs.
Obama’s focus on open government to citizens will only require more major IT initiatives throughout agencies. So, we need to be looking at how to avoid Healthcare.gov repeats. Our recommendation?
Invest more in the beginning of the project lifecycle.
In the Project Management Answer Book, we include the Top Ten Pitfalls to Avoid When Starting a Project:
- Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can (Currently) Chew – Ensure you’ve allocated the necessary time and resources to new projects
- Be Specific! – Don’t jump in without a clear project plan; have a clear and realistic budget and deadline
- Reinventing the Wheel – PMI is a world leader; use their standards
- My Way or the Highway – Your agency has templates, procedures, and legal guidelines; don’t go rogue
- History Repeats Itself – Look through lessons learned from your agency and others for best practices to safeguard success
- Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want – Discuss and ensure you fully understand your customer’s goals, needs, and specifications
- How Much? – Get on the same page with your contractors; who’s paying for what when?
- Did I Pass? – Go through – in detail – the metrics associated with the project with all stakeholders; specifically go over the quality, risk, and customer satisfaction needs
- That’s Mine! – Clarify the team structure and all roles early in the process; this allows the program manager to foster teamwork and positive morale
- Plan, Plan, Plan – Never start a project without a well-thought out and descriptive project planning document or workflow
In essence, it’s about collaborating as a team first to ensure a successful end. Use your management and leadership skills to develop a strong plan that your team can successfully complete – on time and on budget.
2014 will be all about IT project management reform; we can’t afford another Healthcare.gov, so all projects will be under even more scrutiny. Don’t get caught in a (Vanilla) Ice storm – what’s your plan for project success?