I hardly know a project, where everything has been going as per plan from the very beginning to the end. Either there have been difficulties to ensure the key business stakeholders could participate in the project, either an implementation vendor has been delayed to deliver in the realization phase or finally, when the finish line has been on the horizon, there has been nobody to train the end users. I could keep counting such cases. Each single project could be a good case study.
On the other hand almost every project gets accomplished more or less successfully. It is a matter of time, quality and certainly costs. Sometimes the ambitions of a project leader are to be considered as well…
In one of the projects I was participating, we were facing the above mentioned issues blocking the right progress. One of the sponsors decided, considering the project was unusually complex in his opinion, to take over the project manager role instead of removing the project’s roadblocks and supporting him. He stated he had known what “the patient” had been suffering under and had known the business environment. He started cheering for battle, providing directions, forgetting all the painful yet necessary PMO processes though. “Somehow we make it…”
When the project got to the validation phase, suddenly all realized there is a high volume of resources required to support the testing. Given the new Project Manager knew the right VIP’s and was well positioned in the company management, he managed to secure a group of “volunteers”. Many would like to be as powerful as he was… Despite this great achievement, it was found soon, due to many omissions in the documentation in the analysis and realization phases, there were identified hundreds elements requiring changes or corrections. Who, on top of the engaged testers, would validate the repairs? "I will do myself!” – offered our hero. He realized pretty soon the scope of work was enormous.
The project was complex in fact and the turbulences on the way only enhanced that. At the moment the project was supposed to deliver Go Live communication and the team was to develop the training materials, again, out of sudden, a demand for additional support and resources turned out. After finding the ones ready to help and them delivering some editorial samples, the Project Manager became their main reviewer. “I would better do it myself” – he announced and said “thank you” to all of them. We are now eagerly waiting for the final project outcomes…
The project is getting to the finish line and all engaged are keeping their fingers crossed for its success. They are asking themselves at the same time a question, if it was not faster, cheaper and easier, if the ambitions were put aside and all the costs and benefits could be calculated objectively. There are some frames around the projects, their participants have their defined roles – let’s play those, acting as a one, big project team. Is all that we do on our own, by ourselves, always better, faster, cheaper?
Project Team Member
Photo by Ryan Ritchie / CC BY