Project Managers are and should be trained to spot the telltale signs that a project is shifting into the red. By the time you’ve reached missed deployments, it’s almost too late to keep time and labor costs under control. Ultimately, you’re left with the suspicion that you’re going to be eating humble pie with the client and your company and it’s not a good place to be. How can PMs and developer leads know when a tech project is going south before it runs off the rails?
Agile Milestones are Off
Modern software development most often relies these days on the Agile framework to keep deployments running regularly. The first clear indicator that the project is in decline is when you miss milestones. Whether your project consists of bug fixes or a new build, it should be clear to any organized team that there’s a problem when deadlines aren’t met.
Team Engagement Declines
All tech projects require a high level of sponsorship from leadership down to the developer level. If you don’t secure this before the project plan is even created, you’re going to lose. But you should also be alert to the signs that interest is waning in the project later on after it’s initiated. There may be conflicting signals from various stakeholders about the importance of the project. Your dev team may be too busy with other commitments. Resource planning may ultimately be off. It doesn’t matter what the problem is; you must fix it.
It doesn’t have to be a technology project for your efforts to go off the rails if communication fails. Communication is probably just as important as the skill of the project team. Without it, the project is pretty much doomed. Communication is correlated with collaboration. Lose the first and the second starts to decay. Throughout the project, make sure your implementation manager is checking in on communication. Are deadlines being shared and points of friction discussed and eliminated? If the people in your project aren’t communicating, you stand a higher risk of failing altogether.
No project can survive a cost overrun, so when you start to see the time it takes to complete tasks exceed the budgeted amount, you must correct the course immediately. That’s why agile daily standups are so critical to a successful tech project. Project managers know every day what the dev team is working on. They have a chance every day to correct its course. But if they fail to spot increases in overtime, which is really the perfect red flag, they run the risk of getting terribly off track.
Sometimes the biggest derailer of an IT project is the fact that you simply don’t have the right people in the right seats on the bus. That’s where Blackstone Talent Group can help. Talk to our team about your technology hiring needs today.