Projects can be tough, sometimes darn tough… but let’s not call them hard, that’s just too easy…
We’ve all been there, from the home renovation project that was only going to take a weekend, to the largest multi-year construction projects where the plan, schedule, and costs have all spun out of control by not sticking to the plan or having a well-defined plan in the first place…
Is there a better way to plan and execute projects to drive to success? At xOverTime we think so and we’d love to share with you in this blog how we believe you can get your project done and done right!
Over the past 4 years xOverTime has used its lessons learned, the hard way and otherwise to identify paths to success that led to the development of our xOverTime Project Management Execution Methodology. This methodology identifies the project management tasks that are required to drive to success. These tasks form a series of services offerings covering agility, control, compliance, governance & oversight and are available as packages or standalone offerings.
From our methodology, we at xOverTime have identified what we believe are the top 5 key items that allow project leaders to manage successfully and to be the authoritative voice on their project. This authoritative voice is a key component of a project’s success. Let’s take a look at each of the top 5 items, and as we do ask yourself whether you are leveraging these elements in your projects today?
1. Publishing a week ahead project schedule – this is a by-product of a complete project plan showing key deliverables for the week ahead. This weekly view indicates the resource responsible and due date. If delivered consistently week over week, teams build a dependency on this view of the schedule that can be reinforced in meetings and other communications as needed.
2. Connecting daily – we are all social, so having the chance to connect as a team is important. These meetings can and should be quick and brief. Many folks know these are scrums or huddles. Connecting drives communication on a project and is one of the best ways to keep everyone aligned. Everyone working on a project should be invited, and while not everyone needs to attend, tracking attendance helps monitor engagement. Keep the meeting brief, with everyone providing status updates on their deliverables from the week ahead project schedule along with any blocking items. Capturing and sharing notes with everyone quickly after the meeting helps ensure alignment on status and drives focus on urgent items needing resolution. Often skipping the notes invites controversy and chaos as a project develops…
3. Publish an agenda for weekly meetings – we only learn when we listen, so it’s good to give folks a chance to be heard. Sharing the planned agenda for a meeting facilitates an opportunity to listen and allows different team members a chance to contribute. Weekly meetings themselves are a forum to provide updates to the team including a review of the planned project status report for the week. This meeting also provides the opportunity to listen, realign, and re-plan as needed. Closing the meeting with a forward looking view of what’s coming next week allows for the setting of project expectations for the week ahead with the team and helps reinforce the forward momentum that we all like to be a part of!
4. Post notes from the weekly meeting – this should be a rollup from the week on all open items, assigned tasks, issues, risks and status of achievement. This is a great way for everyone on the team to see the status of deliverables matched against the weekly schedule for the current week and the first look of the week ahead project schedule, which helps kickoff this cycle for the week ahead. There are some tricks on managing consistency and timing of distributing these notes that also help teams.
5. Update, share, review and submit weekly reporting – weekly reports are something you can and should share widely. It should be something that’s reviewed with the project team prior to publishing. To be believed, project reporting needs to have consensus and buy in from the project team even when there is bad news, and sometimes there is. Finding the consensus makes the report a collective project story. Once a project report is published it shouldn’t be changed but instead should be the project story book until the following week.
At xOverTime, we believe that doing these items helps move projects forward, and if done week in – week out with consistency, this process drives momentum and execution on a project by ensuring alignment across the whole team. Teams learn and adapt to what is specifically required of them and how they can contribute. At xOverTime we track and score our project teams on these metrics as we believe they are leading indicators for healthy projects. The consistent execution of these tasks allows project leaders to own the authoritative voice on the project and for us at xOverTime, that’s the best way to get a project done and done right!
Let us know if you would like us to help be the authoritative voice on your next project.