At Codeable, we've seen thousands and thousands of businesses struggling with one aspect: project management.
In a digital world, it's a daily thing to fight with things moving and change at a different pace than the one dictated by those procedures we've implemented and are trying to follow. This fast-paced environment has not only to do with the way you manage your own organization and project workflows but also it impacts how your client will perceive your work.
For example, there's a high chance a client of yours would need to retouch their budget for a project when they're told something along the line of
We strongly advise to do a discovery phase.
It's up to you, though, to convince them your work is still worth that updated amount of money. To make things even more complicated, in that scenario, new estimated delivery dates, different resource allocations, more meetings, and calls are likely to occur.
Here's the point:
Having a set of rules and methodologies that help you set expectations more correctly, help you manage your work in a more effective way, and help you deliver on time is a critical business asset.
As part of our broad business mission here at Codeable is to help online business thrive, it's our duty to shed some light on such a tough (and vast) topic such as project management.
And that's where the journey begins.
If you haven't embraced a Project Management Methodology (PMM) in your business yet, or have some rules in place but not in a properly structured format, you might be wondering:
- Where should I start from?
- What do I need to understand before picking one for my organization?
- What features should a PMM have to be a good fit?
Let's start with one of the shortest ways that perfectly explains what you should look for, in this PMM quest you're into right now. I like how Ben Aston, digital project manager and VP of Client Services at FCV, sums it up:
The best methodology is one that's continually and organically improving, adapting and through strong collaboration increases the value of the output so the sum is much greater than the parts.
No matter which methodology you'll end up with, your PMM should continually improve, adapt and bring to you more value when it comes to the desired outcome.
But wait, you might wonder:
How embracing a PMM could help run my business better?
Top 4 benefits of a proper Project Management Methodology
There are several aspects that will improve through a PMM properly set in place, but these following are the most immediate and deep improvements you could gain. Specifically, I'm talking about:
1. Improved efficiency
With a more structured approach to managing work and requests from clients, you'll be better at planning and reduce variances in project results/delivery because you'll be able to streamline and optimize processes along with a decreased room for guess and uncertainty. This will give you an edge over client management expectations as well.
2. Better risk assessment
Risk assessment is another important aspect that you'll be able to improve on. With an improved planning and a more controlled project environment, you'll gain a clearer understanding of the type of risks you might be facing, along with being able to foresee their possible consequences and prepare up front.
3. Better resources management (in-house and outsourced)
An increased efficiency in delivering work and a better resources management level are two sides of the same coin. Leveraging a PMM in your business would make your life easier when it comes to assessing what types of resources you'll be needing for a given project by providing you with insights on how many you can count on (or are short of) and how to better allocate them.
4. More control over project phases
By implementing a more organized action plan, along with all these other benefits, you'll get more control over the entire process. This will allow you to anticipate questions coming from your clients for example. But that's not just it. Let's think about this other one: with an adopted set of structured rules to follow for each project you need to deliver, you could easily spot where bottlenecks or hiccups occur and act immediately to get everything back on track.
These four major benefits of implementing a proper PMM should already be enough to convince you of the important role that Project Management can play into a digital business.
But things get tougher now:
It's time to choose a Project Management Methodology (PMM) out of the many that currently are available.
I won't go into big details as this would fall out of the scope of this post, which is explaining how important PM is and what possibilities you have before you. I'll dig more into the most adopted PMM by digital endeavors in future blog posts.
Ok, then. Time to pick a PMM that works for you, your team and of course your business. But where should you start from? How many PMM are there to choose from?
Well, let's put on hold which one is the best fit for your company (for now) and let's look at a list of well-known PMM you could choose from.
Project Management Methodology list:
- Waterfall Method
- Critical chain project management
- Extreme Programming
- Adaptive Project Framework
- Event Chaing Methodology
- Extreme Project Management
- 6 Sigma
Overwhelming, uh? I agree with you. And this list doesn't account for all PMM that are currently available.
So out of all these, which ones should grab your attention? Which ones should you invest more time to master and implement eventually?
What to look for in a Project Management Methodology
As Moira Alexander, author of "LEAD or LAG: Linking Strategic Project Management & Thought Leadership", points out in this useful graphic, there are several criteria along with their sub-criteria you should take into account.
When trying to assess whether a PMM is good for your business or not, you should examine different subjects and aspects that are involved with your organization both internally and externally:
How to find out if a PMM is a good fit for your organization
To find out whether a PMM is going to be a good fit (or not), you ultimately should question some behaviors, procedures, or communication flows that usually are taken for granted and have probably never be challenged on a management level. Well, now it's the perfect time to revise them.
There are further questions that will help you find an answer in your research for a PMM to use. Specifically:
- Do your stakeholders prefer a particular methodology?
By questioning aspects that usually aren't, you'll start gaining a clearer idea of how different subjects are connected within your company. And one of them could be whether or not there are already preferences for a specific "system" to adopt over another. If that's the case, what are the reasons behind it? What put its implementation on hold? What are the main concerns that stopped it from being adopted? You should be aware and gather all these types of information because when/if you'll be suggesting to start using a new PMM, you'd have to bring in solid arguments on the table.
- How involved do your clients want/need to be in the work?
By asking this question you're trying to define what type of approach and how deep their level of involvement will be when it come to your clients. The answer varies extremely to such a question because it's inevitably dependent on the type of relationship and client management process you've been following since today and the one you'd want to have in place in the future.
- Is it flexible enough?
In your PMM discovery and assessment process, you should try to find a PMM that is flexible enough in its deployment to be able to cover a project type but, with some adaptations and refinements, could work for others as well. Even if there's no "one size, fits all" solution, the PMM you'll end up with should be able to address the majority of your needs with minor and quick changes.
- How steep is going to be the learning curve?
As with any new thing inside your business, there's always some learning required. And the more complex your organization is, the longer it will get for the whole company to make it their own. New processes, new requirements to be followed, new roles in some cases, but also a whole new terminology that might sound obscure to some, are elements you have to take into account at this stage of the research.
Each Project Management Methodology features its own strengths but also its weaknesses. Picking one it's really a hard task from a business perspective because its impact will be affecting your organization as a whole. By revolutionizing your business internally, with new workflows and practices, you'll modify how you manage your clients, your outcomes, your costs, your resources management eventually. And that's a huge business leap.
Knowing this might put you into a freeze mode, where you're a bit worried whether adopting a better project management system is even worth it, based on all the things is related to that could go wrong. That's completely understandable.
But there's something you're missing here: through this research and assessment process for a useful PMM, you're aiming to improve your overall efficiency, and your entire business outcome we could even say. And this is something that's always worth pursuing.