Planning is a vital success ingredient in the delivery of any new digital project or larger programme of work yet is often overlooked.
Digital Rehab discusses the importance of proper planning in Digital Project Management.
Project managers need to either participate in planning phase or have the output of the planning phase well understood in order to deliver a digital project.
When budgets are strained or cut, Planning is sadly one of the first areas that is scaled down of chopped entirely. With digital permeating every facet of modern business and re-defining the way individuals communicate with each other, the absence of proper project planning can increase risk profile of the project and compromise on the benefit/value gained from the delivery of the project.
My assertion is that if proper planning is more commonly adopted by business, then the ‘failure rate’1 and perceived ‘pain’ in online, mobility and all ‘digital’ projects would be greatly alleviated.
In my opinion, the Planning phase (or as otherwise referred to as Definition and Specification) should roughly take about half the time taken in any project so as to ensure scope, risks and budget are all managed properly. Project overruns and delays occur when such attention is not paid to carefully planning out projects.
Lack of appropriate and proper planning will have an adverse impact on the ability of the project to be delivered on time, to a specific and defined budget and that will meet all business requirements
Importance of having a strategy
Having a more streamlined strategy to help navigate the project management landscape is essential. This strategy should look to outline the contextual landscape in which the project fits within, the key project business drivers and goals, the key personnel attached to the project and the lines of authority/delegation and decision making powers of each and finally clearly map out the internal resourcing impact of the project on BAU activities of a business.
From my experience, Australian business appear to be very reactionary when it comes to project scoping, planning for release and delivery of new capabilities back into the business. Many struggle of grasp complexity within projects and the need for broader coordination with other projects so as to understand interdependencies and seek ways to remove duplication of effort and scope overlaps.
While a strategy should look to include considerable input and peer review – it is important to understand that Planning phase cannot appease everyone! Opening this phase up to too much consultation can dilute and introduce more risks down the line in project delivery.
When creating a plan, you will need to evaluate the project dependencies, delivery methodology, key success criteria and tools available. Similarly, you will need to immerse yourself with the problems, risks etc that may arise, as well as know how to remediate them. Finally, a good project plan will spell out for all stakeholders the manner in which the project will be delivered and thus help to manage expectations of all involved.