How to screw up a project
When it comes to IT projects, most of the focus is usually on the actual code development rather than the pre-planning or actual planning of the project. The result? A disorganized project, with no guidance for the people involved and no results for the client.
Our project manager and business manager Gelu Muj knows this type of situation and meets it way too often. He knows how easy it is to fuck up a project and that’s why he set up this handy-dandy reliable list so you can know what you should and shouldn’t do, from the start of the project up right until the end and even beyond.
1. Inexperienced Project Manager
This is not to discourage anybody starting out in this career, trust me. It’s just the reality of things. Giving a big project to a PM that is just starting out will make the project a daunting task for you, the Project Manager and the client. Some may work hard to prove themselves and forget that they can and need to ask for help or even a second opinion. Others may not know how to be realistic and set the right expectations for both the team and the client. Efficiency may also be a thing that junior project managers could struggle with.
2. Bad organization internally and externally
This goes without saying. Having a clear internal and external organizational structure is the key to making it in the industry. As a project manager, you need to know who is in charge of what, regardless of level or function, from CTO’s, to developers, to marketers and everything in between. Most importantly, this needs to be applied both internally, on the team that you are directly managing, but also externally, in the client’s team, to know who to contact for specific details and even emergencies.
3. Fishy third party partners
Outsourcing is sometimes the only viable option when a project needs people with specific talents or capabilities. However, this raises quite a few possible problems. This third party supplier might work in a different way than your team does, for a lack of better way to say it. Whether it is their own bad business practices, them being unreliable, extra costs or fishy contracts, or anything in between, it doesn’t matter; third party partners can be a liability and can mess your project up.
4. Errors calculating costs
Cost calculation is where people usually break deals. And just to make things clear from the start, underestimating the cost of a project is just as bad as overestimating it. If you underestimate, you are cutting yourself and your team short on funds to actually do the project. On the other hand, if you overestimate the cost of the project, you might not even go through with it: the client could pull out of the deal and find somebody else that is way cheaper.
Unfortunately, even if you estimate the price correctly, things can still go wrong along the way. Additional costs can pop up from nowhere, and that’s fine; the problem begins when there are too many one right after the other. The client could feel that they’re being tricked or scammed and then pull right out of the project.
5. No clear maintenance program
One of the biggest, and yet easiest, ways to fuck up a project. Not having a plan for the maintenance of the project after a release can render all the hard work done before useless. Not keeping track of analytics, not checking in with how the product is performing after release and not implementing a plan to improve the product or even scale it as the time goes on is an easy way to make sure that it will fail.
I know it may look like it’s quite hard to mess things up just by reading this article, but believe us. These things happen. So keep an eye out and always be prepared!
Know any other problems that can fuck up projects? Or would you rather not see them in reality at all?
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