Topic: Project management
How to manage project challenges with benefit to all parties?
Daria Akhmerova, Project manager
Appetite comes while eating, and one has only to show the customer a small piece of the future result, as he begins to generate ideas for development and improvement in order to stimulate the client’s appetite. But this, often times, leads to changes, alterations and even complete turn arounds. Therefore, each project manager is faced with changes in the project; it’s inevitable.
They may be minor changes, which generally are fine. It is the demands for a major change within a couple of hours that make the developer and project manager’s jobs nearly impossible. The customer grows increasingly angry, considering the amount of money spent. If he wants a change, the change, in his opinion, should be made, instantaneously. The project hangs in the balance…It is almost ready, but for some reason the customer is not going to accept it. The team therefore begins to doubt their abilities. As a result, no one benefits. Terms thwarted. The project fails. But all this can be avoided if you learn to work with the changes in the project. The recipe is not very difficult, and the sequencing of actions will help you to avoid numerous issues.
It may be minor changes, and can be a major change to introduce a couple of hours is not possible. The head starts to get nervous that the budget laid out, and must also enter «here this feature.» The customer starts to be angry that he pays the money, and rather big amount for this can not satisfy his banal wishes. The project hangs in a vacuum, almost ready, but somehow it is not accepted by the customer. The team begins to doubt his abilities. As a result, no one benefits from this situation. Terms thwarted. The project failed.
But all this can be avoided if you learn to work with the changes in the project. The recipe is not too difficult, and sequencing of actions will help to avoid many troubles.
How should a project manager work with unexpected project changes?
All projects are different and all depend on certain characteristics in terms of how to organize around and consequently manage change.
It is no secret that the degree of maturity of the ideas from customers may be different. Someone who has been running the business, and thus knows it inside and out, also knows what functions should be implemented and what the end result should be. Therefore, we must be able to work with different customers and their varying requirements, because every process and every result will ultimately be different.
Projects can be divided at the implementation stage. With a project already underway, you can demonstrate to the customer the first prototype and then, at this juncture get change requests. And with some, you only see the need for change down the stretch, and decide that it is necessary to work in new ways.
Project types diagram
Not yet started project for mature business
With this type of project the work tends to be a little easier. Risks of change are minimal, as the business is mature and they already understands what is needed. Prior to starting, the customer can generally agree to the scope of the project, and we will work with his/her wishes.
Not yet started project for startup
It is more difficult with newer companies, as there are usually no clear terms of reference; the requirements from the business are constantly changing. Most customers believe that it is normal when the project is underway to make major changes on the fly. Therefore, at the incipient stages of an agreement, it is necessary to raise the question of how working with a startup as merely a sub-contractor is impossible. It needs to be a partnership. There should be a dedicated team solely for this project. This team will then work in tandem with selected business partners from the company, as this will help ensure the success of the endeavor.
In addition, with start-ups, we generally find that there are significant limitations as far as the budget. It is therefore important to come to an agreement with the customer: we will create a minimum working version of the mobile product within the allotted budget, and then once this is up and running, we will gradually introduce new features as their finances allow.
Running project for mature business
If the project is already running, do not panic. You work with a mature business, so you have TK and other material describing future results. Refer to them and filter out that from the comments of the customer is a change, and that the shortcomings in your current job. Then proceed according to plan:
01Explain to the customer the way you work.
It is important to convey the idea that you do not ignore his wishes and planning them. Let him for their treatment will be predictable: It is reported that they had received a new list that analyze it denotes response times.
02Collect all the wishes in one pile.
They need to buy to see the whole picture of the development of the idea of the customer entirely.
03Do not implement the changes ahead of the main development plan.
In no case do not settle for this, because any work on changing the project plan with the main machine leads to missed deadlines.
Project plan illustration
04Treat gained Wishlist
Do not try to please the customer throughout. The desires of the client — even though the law, but they have to be filtered. After all, you are experts, and the customer is not required to understand your subject area and to understand why the square wheel — it is bad, and four wheels — that’s good. We must be able to stop in time to the client and explain why «no» why this or that feature is not fired. Of course, this is good to know the general purpose of the project for which it is created, any parameters to be achieved. This can and should appeal to explain to the customer that, for example, a small picture at the bottom of the screen will not achieve higher-level objectives of the project, such as an increase in product sales.
Do not bother to think, to develop the idea. Understand what the customer wanted it to achieve what the problem is solved? The developers think the developers, so Involve analysts go to the dialogue with the customer, look for answers. Nobody else knows to his project. It is important at this stage to ask him to think as a future user to develop a solution for everyone, not just for themselves. In the example of a small photo, maybe he wanted to make space for the item description. Then you can do millions of other ways without compromising the beautiful pictures of the goods.
Once you finished the project and have accumulated a list of new features, all of them verified and correlated with the overall objective of the project, arrange the priorities and actions! On any project will impact positively the new release with a party of fresh and convenient features right after the primary. It will delight customers and will give an additional plus sign to the promotion. Be able to plan such work, because you have addressed to specialists who are ready to help organize the chaos in the mind of the customer and translate the idea into reality!
Running project for startup
It is the most difficult case of all, since there is no clear vision of the future of the product and the customer constantly generates ideas for change. Whatever you did yesterday, today may suddenly become obsolete. Be prepared for this risk. It is important not to spoil relations with the customer and bring the project to a point where it will be possible to develop it. Put yourself in the role of an expert who knows what to do, ask the client to listen to yourself, otherwise do not complete the project never :)
Benefits for all
As you can see, there is a way how to prevent the risk, and to work with him in the course of the project. Do not worry and get nervous that the customer does not accept your project the first time. We are all confronted with this, and that's fine. You just have to learn to work competently with the changes!
In a project where change management is organized, it becomes all the better:
- For a customer, because all their wishes heard and command operates in the interests of the project. The client becomes immune from having to hurt her as offspring and go beyond time and on budget.
- For a team, because there is a sequence, there is a sense of completion of the project in the main release there is pride in the quality products.
- For a project manager, because the project becomes manageable understandable, and there is no force majeure.
As you can see, there is a way how to prevent the risk, and to work with him in the course of the project. Do not worry and get nervous that the customer does not accept your project the first time. We are all confronted with this, and that’s fine. You just have to learn to work competently with the changes!
I hope these tips will help you in the future!