Dare to have lean project structures – build on your team
The supposedly safe feeling
The good feeling is supported by extensive project methods, which have been developed over the years and often provide a rigid framework for projects. There are process definitions, tools, templates and predefined stage gates, which should regulate the daily business in the project. These projects also take place in a corporate environment, which is governed by directives which have become complex through the years of experience. With these tight conditions, many established companies are trying to minimize the internal centrifugal forces and to ensure that all employees comply with the corporate orientation.
And now comes a digitization project
However, since, for the reasons already mentioned, a classical waterfall model (without hybrid constructions) is often used, it is all the more important to maintain a certain flexibility in the sequences. No process, however well defined, will cover all possible scenarios, so that improvisation is inevitably necessary. In such situations, we often have a reputation for more structure and more process in order to manage the chaotic project.
The team decides
In the case of locally distributed teams, select the best possible communication type that can be made available. If, for example, a trip to a common location is not possible, a video conference should be given preference over a pure telephone call or the exchange via e-mail.
You will experience it: If the employees in the project communicate well, many problems are easier to solve. However, this does not mean countless meetings, but the situational meeting in order to solve defined problems. However, it is also necessary for the employees to be given the corresponding responsibility and the trust that they can solve the task. Furthermore, it should be encouraged (and encouraged) to actively approach colleagues. Otherwise there is a risk that the employees will retreat to the defined process and find reasons why someone else is responsible for the next step…
Recommendations for the project management method
- If you do not want to (or can not) change to agile methods at the same time, check which flexibility allows the existing project method. Assume that, to the best of your knowledge, you are not able to plan everything in advance, and you are deliberately planning checkpoints, in which you can consciously review and adjust the existing planning. Be sure to be honest with yourself. Shifting problems into later phases brings the anger later, but you have less possibilities to react.
- Check what you can remove from your project methods. Do not always add rules. (“Perfection is not achieved when nothing can be added, but nothing can be left out,” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- Set the focus on open and direct communication. Your process will never cover all eventualities. But especially in unforeseen situations, people can find creative solutions through direct exchange. And if this is still difficult at first, a moderator or facilitator can help.