Many organizations struggle to balance a long list of new projects because of funding problems, while the need for core services continues in a rapid pace. Since organization cannot put every project as top priority, it looks like the project stakeholders need to figure out how to get things done even though other work may take precedence. So in order to succeed, these low priority projects need continued sponsorship and a dedicated team.
Verifying the priority
Whenever we are overwhelmed by the challenges of project prioritization, we should remember that there is always a way forward. We may not be able to keep every project stakeholder perfectly happy, but if we can make the most effective use of our available resources while keeping the projects on track. However, If the project benefits appeared to be of considerable importance but inadequate priority than it's a threat, so we need to ensure that the sponsor clearly understand this.
How to gain sponsorship
A sponsor is needed right from the start of the project, and that need will continue throughout the life of the project. But before we approach any stakeholder to consider sponsoring the project, be sure that we know the reason they should sponsor. Moreover, the relationship between the sponsor and project team must be based on high degree of interdependence, transparency and trust. So, discuss the expectations of the project with the sponsor, and ensure that both parties have a consistent understanding of the consequences if it ends up in failure. Repeat these discussions and make sure to document the sponsor and stakeholder commitments.
Build a cohesive team
High performing teams are not the result of coincidence, but It's obtained by managing emotions. It is the ability to get team members inspired, so we must understand how team cohesiveness works and how bonding in a team will build energy. They achieve greater levels of participation and collaboration because team members trust one another, and have confidence in their abilities and effectiveness. Finally, whatever we can uncover to build a committed team, it will help the project manager to get through the project regardless of it's priority level.
As project managers we know that one of the greatest challenge in managing projects is dealing with the unknown or unclear requirements. In most cases, project managers fall into the pressure trap from executives and proceed with the project based on their own estimations. I think it's not easy to excuse ourselves by saying that there will be a delay in starting the project because the requirements are unclear. What you think the best way in situations like this?
Go for Agile
Add to risk
Communicate with stakeholders
My current project is dealing with moving a web based application from self hosted to a vendor hosted cloud environment. So, after deciding the change, the project team must decide how to actually implement the change. The main concern here is how the project team could deal with and minimize the resistance to change.
Why do people resist change?
Dealing with resistance is always challenging because the resistance isn't necessarily based on rational factors. In reality people resist change due to factors like:
The key to the problem is to understand the true nature of resistance and allow the people to participate in making the change. Also, make sure they recognize the need for change and to search for new solutions.
Methods for dealing with resistance
Communication is the key here, also educate people when inaccurate or missing information is contributing to resistance. Forcing through the change is effective when speed is essential or when the organization wants to implement the change quicker.
I think creating a sense of urgency has a very important role in overcoming resistance to change. For those who might want to resist the change, it can convince them of the need for the change. Finally, for any change effort to be effective, the organization need a thoughtful strategy and a thoughtful implementation approach to address various barriers.
When there is lot of information coming our way during scope management plan, it is hard to sort through everything and organize the information in a way that makes sense and help the project team to make meaningful decisions. Whether we are brainstorming ideas, or when the team members are dealing with lot of information from a variety of sources, we can end up spending a huge amount of time trying to collect all the bits and pieces. Rather than letting the disjointed information get the best of us, we use an affinity diagram to help organize the information we collected during this process.
In my experience most decision-making exercises begin with brainstorming, and I think this is one of the most common application of affinity diagram. Usually after a brainstorming session we will come across pages of ideas. And, in most cases these won't be edited in any way, many of them will be very similar, and many will be closely related to other ideas in a variety of ways.
In my current project, each team member decided to write ideas on a separate sticky note and put them on a wall. Then we sorted ideas into groups by asking, what ideas are similar? Is this idea connected to any of the others? etc. We kept on moving the sticky notes around until consensus were reached. We continued to group ideas until we had reached the broadest.
The brainstorming session was the most challenging during the collect requirement process. We gathered ideas and content from all team members and key stakeholders. The data gathered were analyzed and different patterns were grouped and created. With the results available and the information gathered from team members, this diagram was presented to sponsor and key stakeholders to ensure that they had a heads up on the structure created.
Affinity diagrams are great tools for grouping and understanding large amounts of information. When you work through the process of creating relationships and working backwards from detailed information to broad groups, you get an insight you would not otherwise find. Team members themselves brainstormed and reorganized data which otherwise may not provide good results.
The lesson we learned from the project was that next time when we are confronting a large amount of information or number of ideas and if we feel overwhelmed at first glance, will use the affinity diagram approach to discover all the hidden linkages. And when we cannot see the forest for the trees, an affinity diagram may be exactly what we need to get back in focus.
Most of the project management activities, interact with variety of information, sometimes directly or indirectly, so organizations should have some form of information management system. Also, organizations are aware that information management strategy is highly crucial to the success of every business. Since it's difficult to survive in the current competitive and innovative world without a framework for information management strategy.
I think this strategy should aim to develop an information culture in which all members of the organization understand the importance of information in relation to their roles and responsibilities. Also, the ultimate objective of having a strategy is to develop a plan for implementing various systems to support the organizational needs.
The objectives of the information management strategy planning are to:
Key to the information management strategy is of course, understanding of the information needs of the organization and its employees and the way information flows through the organization. First of all, information should be held securely, and protected to ensure its confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA triad). All information in the organization should meet the necessary quality standards. Also, it should be delivered consistently across all end users and shouldn’t have to wait long to get their requested information.
Based on my research and experience, ownership is a critical element when implementing a strategic plan. So, without proper ownership, end users which are affected by the plan may resist in implementing it. The most effective means of developing ownership is to make sure that there is a broad participation from all end users across the organization during the planning process. Also, the participation can take place at many levels, including information gathering, brainstorming, focus groups, interviews, and facilitated workshops etc. Finally, by implementing the information management strategic plan we can make sure that the project management information needs are integrated, preserved, and leveraged throughout the entire project life cycle.