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Six tips to ensure a successful project during these uncertain times


Johannesburg, 26 Aug 2020
Read time 4min 00sec

Some business projects, when implemented, are done with good intentions and there is a vision of how it is going to work. However, when the dynamic elements of each business and the current potential economical threats are not considered together with the complexity of the project, the chances of success are low.

“There are different types of projects that may need to be implemented by a company, such as compliance, regulations and privacy projects, to name a few. However, just because a similar project worked for company A, doesn’t mean that it is going to work for company B,” says Jessica Tandy, Executive director at Bizmod. “Knowing the business and its needs is the first step in putting together a plan and an experienced team to work on the project. Without this information, the outcome will be less effective and the desired results will not come to fruition.”

It is imperative that the current new normal of working from home is also taken into consideration. The manner in which deliverables were executed previously may no longer work and we now need to understand what the new virtual requirements are and how to execute these. The manner in which deliverables are received and measured have changed and that human interaction and satisfaction is no longer something that we can share with one another. “Intentional stakeholder relationship building and effective communication is now more important than ever, and without it, we are left with a huge void in the project management,” says Tandy.

Change management, experienced multi-disciplinary teams and pragmatic thinking are some of the elements that are needed to achieve a successful project. Tandy offers the following tips to maximise the chances of success during these uncertain times:

Multi-disciplinary teams are needed to ensure that every facet of the project is in experienced hands. These teams must be willing to put in the hard work where required and be comfortable being hands-on when it comes to getting the desired results. Teamwork and constant feedback are mandatory now, as we no longer have the luxury of communicating with our colleagues in person. There are no quick exchanges of conversation as we move between meetings or a quick coffee chat, which not only provides an update, but also an emotional connection.

Engagement with all relevant stakeholders allows for consistent and mandated decision-making. A participative decision-making capability, including specialists, support areas and business divisions gives the project a holistic approach and minimises any risks involved. Regular communication between the project team and stakeholders need to be introduced and mapped on virtual platforms, such as a strategic webinar, Google Teams meetings and other interactive sessions that all assist in motivating and building the team.

When interpreting the Act(s) within a business, a pragmatic approach always trumps a fundamentalist approach, eliminating box ticking and keeping the greater good of the client in mind.

Each business is different, and it is important to know the legislations that apply to each project and each business and work in accordance to it.

It is important not to underestimate the extent the impact of the project will have on the company and the necessity to invest properly in change management. Change management is needed in making sure that projects and the change that it creates is successfully and smoothly implemented into a company without confusion, anxiousness and miscommunication. Since the general change management interventions are limited in our current way of having to work, it is crucial to ignite new initiatives, such as an increased digital network, that helps to promote change within your business.There is no greater time than the present to embark and outline how change management remains, and is even more, imperative now.

Don’t allow for too many work streams during a project. It may seem like a good way to speed up the project and get work done, but it can create confusion and slow down the process. To ensure that a project is successful, all decisions made need to be done with the correct, available information and relevant input and approval. Break the project into a list of deliverables and assign tasks to the relevant team members. This allows for process and accountability when properly handing over deliverables to the business functions. 

Editorial contacts
Inge Lawrence Inge@bizmod.co.za
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