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Straight Talk on Project Management

Haunted

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Haunted by IT project challenges? How PMAAS can help! And enjoy an eerie-sistible IT project Halloween cocktail

Happy Halloween!

As I’ve watched my neighbours decorate their houses ready for the trick or treaters, a thought occurred to me.

In the same way that ghosts and ghouls, skeletons and witches, zombies, werewolves and vampires, that terrified me as a kid, no longer hold any fear for grown up me, the things that terrified me as a younger project manager – well, they are also tamed and neutralised.

In this blog, we’ll consider three such phantoms, discuss how solutions have evolved and celebrate our development, growth and progress with a Halloween/Project Management themed cocktail at the end!    

1 – SCOPE CREEP

Scope creep is a project management challenge that feels as old as the mummies!

I remember my training, scope creep came to represent some kind of bogey man! It would, I learned, cause delay, increase costs, lead to conflict with stakeholders – I dreaded it.

My certificates hadn’t been on the wall for long when scope creep snook up on the project team I was working with! I felt sick! The requirements of the project I was working on was changing from what was scoped and agreed! What was initiated was not what we were expected to deliver now – I remember a tense meeting with lots of raised voices and some choice words!

Scope creep challenges (which is an anagram of ape corpse clenches leg – just a Halloween coincidence? I don’t think so!) are still common! In 2020, responding to a State of Project Management report survey, more than half of project management professionals cited ‘frequent changes to scope’ as one of their organisation’s biggest challenges – but it no longer has to be the stomach churning drama it once was!

The days of awkward, tense and fiery renegotiations (like that slanging match I remember) are consigned to history. A more collaborative environment exists and negotiating an increase in budget or project delivery lead times is easier as a result – managing the scope change is less of a nightmare!

YOU GOT BETTER TOO!

Project managers are more proactive when mapping out projects, an Agile project management methodology like Scrum allows teams to constantly review while remaining laser focussed on their specific goals, and teams are more open than ever to drafting in resources ‘as a Service’ – and the industry is set up to facilitate this!

AND STONESEED HAS GOT YOUR BACK

Stoneseed’s Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) delivers a turn it on, turn it off, turn it up or turn it down service.  Our innovative on-demand resource model allows you to dial up and down IT project resources in sync with your delivery needs giving you access to a wide portfolio of project skills, made available against your demand schedule, from a single Project Manager, Business Analyst, Technical Advisory or PMO expert for a few days, right through to a large team of fully utilised project professionals. When your scope creeps PMaaS can flex to resource the creep!

2 – UNMATCHED SKILLS

Unmatched skills (which is an anagram of tech admin skulls – just a Halloween coincidence? I don’t think so!) used to be a bigger issue.

The best project teams have talent with skills that are exactly matched to the projects and tasks they must deliver; this leads to a better and more productive work environment. A mismatch between requirements and skill levels can lead to delays, inefficiencies and even failure.

Properly matching project tasks to the skills possessed by your team gets easier with experience. Firstly, you need an awareness of what skills are required for each task within the project and, secondly, project managers need to get to really know their team. I mean, not just understand what skills they have, but also what motivates them and what makes them tick as individuals. Thirdly, you need the self-awareness as a team to identify when there is a crucial skills gap and have the wherewithal and courage to do something about it.

A SKILLS MISMATCH SPELLS STRESS

Thinking back to the start of my career, I remember a colleague who was always stressed. She was the go-to team member for what I’d now describe as detailed business analysis. For budgeting and forecasting she was your woman and she hated it! What we needed was a BA! Ironically, she did have a keen eye for identifying problems and outlining and communicating them, she was the first to spot business opportunities and solutions to problems – she just hated the pressure of being responsible for forecasting and budgeting – “This is NOT what I signed up for” was her catch phrase.

These days, a CIO or project leader might have seen her talents in one area and, identifying a lack of motivation in the other, invested in upskilling.

LESS STRESS as a SERVICE

Now, a team member who really didn’t want to do something need not have it forced upon them!

These days, a competency that’s missing from your team’s toolset can be brought in “as a Service”. Stoneseed’s BAaaS (Business Analysis as a Service), part of our PMaaS suite, would have been perfect to ease the pressure on my stressed-out colleague.

Whether it is production of a business case for an IT Project, requirements gathering or data analysis to help with project implementation, Stoneseed can supply BA expertise and resources, aligned as and when you need them, on a cost effective, full-time or part-time basis.

BAaaS can be tailored to your specific requirement. Stoneseed’s BA team are experienced across multiple technology solutions, sectors and industries and we work with all types of projects and programmes such as Business Change, Transformation, Infrastructure, Digital or IT Project Delivery. Basically, you no longer need to give BA type work to someone who isn’t a BA – or any other project role! Leaving them free to deliver what they are great at!! Remember, the PMaaS suite also gives you access to Project Managers, Technical Advisory or PMO experts, Programme and Project Delivery experts, you can have a single individual for a few days or a large team of fully utilised project professionals. 

3 – POOR RISK MANAGEMENT

Poor risk management (which is an anagram of roaming monster peak – just a Halloween coincidence? I don’t think so!) also used to be a horror show for IT Project teams.

While I’d still encourage due care and diligence in this area, errors happen (we are human) and things change – who had pandemic and global shutdown in their risk assessments for projects in 2020? Exactly!

Nowadays, we’re better equipped to deal with miscalculations and even seismic changes in the landscape our projects are set in. Stoneseed’s Project Management as a Service can deliver what you need, in terms of resources, processes, methodologies and tool sets – when you need it and for how long you need it!

An unplanned risk can be mitigated by accessing resources through the “as a Service” universe, the workload of absent colleagues can be fulfilled by PMaaS talent, talent gaps and shortages can be avoided.

When the landscape shifts, you’ll be ready.  

During the pandemic, Stoneseed’s expertise in Remote Project Delivery was the difference between survival and failure for many projects.

When IR35 shook up the public sector contractor market, Stoneseed’s PMaaS was ready. Stoneseed’s Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) removed IR35 out of the equation – it just did not apply as we employ most of our Project Team, they are on our payroll and therefore already complied with UK tax legislation.

Furthermore, we were (and are) “procurement framework” ready! At Stoneseed, we are regularly engaged in Public Sector projects with councils, charities and universities. Often, this involves working with procurement teams and HR departments directly, via Private procurement frameworks or through Government procurement frameworks such as those offered by the Crown Commercial Service.

We are currently listed as an approved supplier on the G-Cloud 12 & the new 13 framework under Specialist Cloud Services and on the DOS framework (Digital Outcomes & Specialists).

When IR35 returned, this time to haunt the private sector, all our previous experience led to Stoneseed being an oasis of calm and continuity for businesses as they navigated the uncertainty.

As I write this, the past month has seen the Government repeal the IR35 legislation of 2017 and 2021 and then U-turn just 24 days later! If this rollercoaster affected you, you’ll be ready for the cocktail at the end of this blog!

The thing is, I don’t know what the IR35 future holds for businesses and contractors, I can’t predict what the next shift of the tectonic plates of our project landscape will be – but I do know that Stoneseed’s PMaaS is ready.

CONCLUSION AND LET’S RAISE A GLASS TO YOU!

That’s just three horrors that used to freak me out when the ink was still wet on my Project Management certificates, there are many more – and they’ve all been contained like spirits trapped in a Ghostbusters proton pack!

The thing is, you and I have come a long way as individuals and can take much more in our stride. You know what? We should celebrate that more – so I’ll end with a Halloween cocktail suggestion so we can both raise a glass!

Your brilliance-through-experience and the fact that just about every project need is now catered for by Project Management as a Service should alleviate most IT Project terrors.

As water is to a witch, as garlic is to a vampire and as a silver bullet is to a werewolf – PMaaS will keep you safe and sound, even in the darkest of times!

Happy Halloween!

 

IT Project Halloween Cocktail: The Scope Creeper Red Alert!

Ingredients:

30ml raspberry liqueur

30ml vodka

A handful of crushed ice

A handful of frozen raspberries

Red sugar to garnish the rim of the glass

Champagne (enough to top the glass up)

Method:

1 – Chill your cocktail glass.

2 – Pour the raspberry liqueur and the vodka into a cocktail shaker, add in the crushed ice and the raspberries.

3 – Shake until you feel the chill on the outside of your shaker!

4 – Dip the rim of your cocktail glass into cold water, then into the red sugar.

5 – Strain the cocktail into your glass and top with champagne.

6 – Enjoy!!!

Find out more about Project Management as a Service from Stoneseed

Sources
https://wellingtone.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/The-State-of-Project-Management-Report-2020-Wellingtone.pdf