Categories: Nontraditional Project Management
In my last post, I described the challenges of maintaining project management rigor in an environment where people are primarily in creative service roles. It appears I hit a chord. A few of you have commented and want to know how I've handled the situation.
Well, first I will say that I believe we will never reach 100 percent compliance with the project management standards you'd expect to find at NASA or a construction site. Creative work is not an exact science and it requires some very non-linear thought and approaches. It can be very hard to pin down a repeatable formula for executing these kinds of projects.
If there are specific tasks you cannot predict or that don't fit into a prescribed methodology, people tend to simply operate by intuition. The first thing you need to do is to look for the wins. Where in the process can you continue to provide rigor and discipline to help keep the project within boundaries, while avoiding the appearance of overly constraining your teams?
We have done this by creating as flexible a methodology as we can. As a whole, it closely follows the tenets set forth in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). The software development life cycle serves as a foundation: planning, discovery, design, build, test, implement, support, rinse and repeat.
The difference comes in our application. For any given project -- whether it's a marketing e-mail, interactive web banners, mobile applications or full site development -- we have fundamental requirements that don't change. All projects must have a timeline, for instance. And all projects must have a scope, a set of requirements approved and reviewed throughout to ensure we're on target.
Beyond that, it's the diner's choice: Does a four-week e-mail project require a formal matrix of approvers? Probably not, though it would help to have a short list of final approvers. Does an interactive banner need a content matrix or a formal technical architecture? It all depends on what the team needs.
How has your organization tailored its project management approach to account for the unique needs of its project teams?