Friday, 30 November 2012

Are your iMedia Projects out of control?

Project management is all about control: control of risks, control of stakeholders, control of time, cost and quality, control of the cross-functional team of developers, control of the clients and so on. It’s no wonder that keeping a tight rein on all these factors is not easy. Herding cats comes to mind as an appropriate expression! You shouldn’t despair if your own projects are displaying some control issues but unless you have put in place some control benchmarks that all know and agree, then jigging or tugging the reins will have no effect.

After checking up on ‘control’ factors I found a few interesting items that I want to share.

In its survey of web developers, heart internet has come up with 88% believing that clients underestimate the cost of web design. Do you agree? If true, this is a danger point for control for a project manager and unless the client is made aware of the likely costs in a project before they embark on it, you’re in for a difficult time.

Lynda Bourne in Controlling or Influencing? The real use of project controls (Project Accelerator News, 18.11.12) has a take on control in projects worth a look. She insists that control is the wrong emphasis and that it is communication across all the players that changes future behaviour: i.e. gives control. Mind you, she doesn’t believe you can control the future through processes but seems to indicate that future behaviour of people can be changed by communication. A bit confusing, I feel. However, I agree that now there is more emphasis on controlling/influencing the people within the project through communication and we’ve emphasised this in our dealings with stakeholders and cross-functional team considerations (See our previous blogs on these.) Surely it’s a combination of communication and processes that help shape the project environment?

It is hard to define the number and range of projects that have problems, but I reckon that a company offering to step in to help floundering projects is a good indicator that there are enough out there. (See Micromicon Media’s profile You need to remember that it isn’t just you that can suffer financially if your projects are wobbling. Your clients count the cost as well and this affects their future behaviour to iMedia.