Learn How Experienced Project Management Professionals Can Help When You Outsource Tasks
Businesses large and small often need to outsource tasks to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget. Whether you’re working with an in-house project team or outsourced professional talent, you need strong project management to ensure projects are delivered successfully.
When working with a project team, there are bound to be some hiccups along the way. But how you address these issues will determine the success of your projects. Project delays mean more costs for you, so you need to know that issues will be resolved and projects will be completed efficiently.
To do this, sometimes you might need to outsource project support for help. You’ll end up doing yourself and your project teams a huge favour by bringing in project support.
Here are a few of the most common pitfalls that prevent project teams from successfully delivering projects on time, and how you can avoid them.
Don’t set a deadline that you and your project team can’t meet!
It goes without saying, but deadlines are informed by workloads and where other projects are in the production cycle.
Project managers should look at a calendar and consider everything that’s going on in the business schedule when taking on a project. If it’s a really busy time, don’t set an unrealistic deadline for you and your project team. Tight deadlines with an already stressed team are a sure-fire way to set yourself up for failure.
Keep in mind that deadlines aren’t just checkpoints in a project lifecycle. Each task and item you assign to your team needs a deadline. If you’re not familiar with Gantt charts or the critical path method, they’re worth looking into. They can help you set deadlines, especially for projects where multiple team members are working on items that need to come together in the end.
Have you identified final outcomes and benefits of a project? Are the objectives clearly defined? If you haven’t done that, then your team won’t know what they’re working towards. Unclear objectives make it hard to determine if a project is, in fact, a success. A clear set of expectations, roles, responsibilities, and deliverables are needed for teams to be more self-dependent and organized and have a greater sense of accountability and ownership with the project.
Poor planning can lead to pitfalls in all project areas. To prevent overwhelm, projects should be broken down into smaller tasks and clusters of tasks. You can break these up by department or by team role if need be.
Regardless, all tasks should be assigned to the individual best-suited to getting the job done. Remember our first point about deadlines? You need deadlines for individual tasks, too. Think about how these tasks impact the project as a whole or the next stage of work.
Bringing in outsourced project management expertise can help support your planning process. And with a sound plan in place, you can avoid the many other pitfalls that are common with projects.
This happens when the initial scope of the project size is not accurate. As a project progresses, and the client asks for more changes, work piles up and the growing scope of the project will creep up on you. Take time to discuss the scope of the project with key stakeholders and team members. It’s important to maintain commitments to the original project outline and objective. If you find your project’s scope is changing (two deliverables become five, for example) and you’re losing focus, take time to revisit your contracts and agreements. Focus on what the project is, not what you think it is.
Poor Communication Strategy
Conflicting agendas and cultures can make communication difficult amongst cross-functional project teams. And without a well-planned communications strategy, there is little staff buy in and useful activity.
Teams need regular meetings and communication with project managers and each other to ensure everyone is on the right track.
If there’s a lack of transparency and accountability in project teams, tasks may be left unfinished, or poorly completed. Projects will also lose focus without proper monitoring and control. But an experienced project manager will keep an eye on everyone's progress.
An experienced project manager who understands these common pitfalls and how to avoid them might be the project support you need. Outsourced project managers ensure projects are successfully completed on time, leaving you more time to focus on other business objectives.