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How Close To Achieving Your 2018 IT Project Goals Are You? Time to “aaSk” For Help?

TIME-TO-aaSk-FOR-HELP_

As I write this, we are now well into the final quarter of 2018. October will soon become a distant memory, November will fly by in a blaze of bright lights as calendars are punctuated with celebrations for Bonfire Night, Diwali and Thanksgiving and then we will be on the inevitable treadmill to Christmas and the end of the year.

So, with that in mind, if you set targets for 2018 at the start of this year ... how are they measuring up? Are your IT Projects hitting the milestones that you hoped they would by this point? Or have they gone the same way as those New Year resolutions?!

Completely unscientific this, but a quick call around some project management friends reveals that most have projects that are lagging somewhat behind their ambitions.

Now, my specialist chosen subject, were I to go on Mastermind, would probably be the Project Management as a Service market. I find it fascinating how this sector has evolved to meet just about ANY IT project challenge and more and more innovative solutions are added to the 'brochure' every day. These friends with projects that are struggling know this, so I asked why they hadn't called to see if there was 'something out there' that could help.

The biggest reason was, cost’. There was a perception that PMaaS would cost too much. You know what? Project management as a Service can actually even help you reduce costs or in many cases lead to no net cost increase. It's one of my favourite myths to debunk. Even in worst case scenarios, the cost of using PMaaS resources is usually insignificant compared with, say, the cost of a failed project.

The other most popular answer was really interesting. They almost all said something along the lines of this ... "to ask for help would be an admission of failure or it would look bad on their own capabilities".

I asked who would judge them in this way. The most common reply was 'my boss', followed 'my team' or 'stakeholders', one friend even thought that the PMaaS partner they called might judge them in the way that a mechanic might if you took a badly maintained car in for a service.

This needs a reframe.

Firstly, I have never met a boss or stakeholder who judges anything other than end outcomes. OK if you turn up on delivery day with an incomplete IT project or one that is WAY over budget - you're gonna get judged. If, on the other hand, you parachute in PMaaS resources to deliver on time or on budget, you will be judged on that success and not by the means with which you achieved it. In most cases this is true.

Secondly, your team will not consider you a failure for reaching out, nor will they think that PMaaS resources are a reflection on their performance - unless you tell them that this is the case. They are more likely to be grateful that you have seen how hard they are working or that you have appreciated that the complexity of your project is perhaps beyond their current experience and capabilities. They will be glad of the assistance to get them over the finish line.

And thirdly, no-one from the PMaaS market will judge you. They are in business for just this kind of thing and they will be glad of the opportunity to serve. They want the business!! If they ridiculed or judged you, because of the state that your project is in then they probably wouldn't get asked back again and certainly wouldn't get the precious recommendation or referral from you that could lead to more work in the future.  

Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.

Seeking assistance with your IT Project is no different to being lost in a city that you don't know. If you are in a strange town to watch a gig or cheer on your team at a football match and you can't find the theatre or stadium - do you just keep walking down street after street in the hope that you get lucky? No. You ask for directions.

And what does the person you ask do? Do they laugh at you? Judge you? Do they tell you that they're too busy? Do they tell to buy a map or open the one on your phone? No, they just give you the directions. I love helping lost tourists get to where they want to be, I have even opened the map on MY phone to show someone the way before now.

Human beings are mostly wired this way and the proof comes in what happens after you give directions. You spend a good five minutes gesturing with your arms, pointing left and right, basically sharing your hard earned knowledge, even recapping (without being asked) in case they missed any of it ... and then what? The person says thanks and off they go. You don't get a box of chocolates or bottle of wine for your troubles, they don't take your name and address so that they can send you a Christmas card, they don't rifle through their pockets for loose change - they just go. What a user!! BUT, if a hundred yards down the road someone else said, "Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to the station?" - you'd stop and help them too.

You don't judge a lost tourist for being lost and no-one in the PMaaS sector will judge you for asking for directions with your IT Project either. Actually, they'll be happy for the chance to show off their knowledge!! AND the best thing is that, by hiring in PMaaS talent, you get to be a knowledge sponge!! In the same way that the lost tourist will now always know how to get to the station, you and your team will acquire new skills that you can take forward in your careers.

On-demand project management resources, which is basically what PMaaS is, allows you to flex your processes to your specific needs of your project portfolio at any given time. Sometimes you’ll need a lot of project management support perhaps to get past a difficult challenge and other times you can get away with less.

At Stoneseed, our PMaaS offer is a team of Project Management, Technical and Service Delivery Professionals, delivering services through a flexible, on-demand resourcing model. From strategy to service delivery, this cost-effective model for project delivery is underpinned by Stoneseed’s PMO, methodology and toolset. What that means is that whatever is holding your project ambitions back, we have the solution. Wherever you have got lost - we can give you directions! We love a new challenge, believe me, whatever mess you're in we are so ready to help you unpick it. 

I find this time of year is a great time to assess IT Project performance against milestones and take corrective action if needed. Apart from anything else, we are about to head into 'peak sickness' season and knowing what your capabilities are and how much of your in-house resource you could afford to lose to a flu bug without impacting your projects is a great piece of insight to have. Having a PMaaS partner on speed dial as a backup plan is just sensible precaution.

Knowing that your IT Projects are on track and underwritten can allow you to fully enjoy whatever holiday season you are about to celebrate, safe in the knowledge that any fireworks that do go off - won't be in your project portfolio!

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