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First aid for the most common problems in IT projects

date

02/01/2023

reading time

3 minutes

author

Luca Filippone

Your organization is in the middle of a project, and you’re getting the feeling that things are going off the rails. Team members are complaining, and stakeholders are getting frustrated about the progress. But you still can’t quite put your finger on what exactly the problem is. It might be a number of things ... Maybe the requirements weren’t clear at the start of the project, or maybe some things went wrong in the communication about changes in scope. Whatever the problem is, it’s time to get the project back on track. Let's show you how to tackle the most common problems in IT projects.

Transparent communication is key

When you find yourself regularly facing scope creep and dealing with seemingly pointless feature requests, then you know your project has problems. That’s why you should always define, in advance, the added value of any new feature and the budget it will require. And whenever there is a need for a change in scope, make sure that it is approved by the stakeholders. Transparency is and remains key.

When you miss a deadline, trust evaporates very fast – and not just on the part of the stakeholders, but also on the part of your team members. If it happens repeatedly, they’ll start looking for other projects. The reasons? Because they don’t want to deal with the stress, or because they know your project is not going to end well. So, make sure that everyone gets regular, updated roadmaps and is aware of where the delays are. When a project has run aground and you’ve got to get it afloat again, you know that you will have to make some compromises.

Delivered vs. open tasks

Do you find yourself losing track of the workload over the course of a project? That means it’s time for a team tune-up. Make sure all team members and stakeholders are aware of all sub-tasks, and that they understand how much work is creeping in, along with every task, before you expand the scope. First, draft a statement of the work completed, together with the team, followed by the work still outstanding. For this latter category, keep track of the estimated time to complete. Is there too much, or not enough work? What about scope creep? By sitting down with your team to look at these questions, you can quickly get your workload back in balance.

Quality before speed

Is the pressure on your project increasing, or do you have the feeling your stakeholders’ expectations are unrealistic? Always remember that fast delivery is only a good idea in theory. Once you get your product to market, you will get feedback from your users that will help you pivot fast. But if you notice that you’re sacrificing quality for speed, it’s time to pump the brakes a little. When you start losing your focus on quality, you always pay for it at a later stage of the project. The result? Regression and rework. No matter how much time and money your project takes to complete, you must never put quality in second place.

The importance of a positive & motivated team

The more stress your team has to endure, the less positively they will respond to new tasks and additional workload. And the less motivated they will be. Diminishing motivation will be seen immediately in the work (and so, the project as a whole), and once that happens it’s only a matter of time before things fall apart. That’s why you should jump into action whenever you notice signs of stress or excessive work pressure among your team members, to keep things from getting worse.

happy team

If you think things are rough now, wait until you’re a project manager with a completely demotivated team.

Putting out fires

Do you feel like you’re constantly putting out fires, and do you respond to every change request with frustration? Then it’s time to draft a statement of where you are on the project, what end result you are expecting and what you still need to do to achieve that result. No idea how to even start? No problem! The Value Hub can help! When the challenges get too big and you can’t solve the problems yourself, it’s time to call in some help. Our people are experts at unblocking projects. Contact us today so we can start looking for a custom solution for you.

Let's make the 'common problems in IT projects' part of the past!

about the author

Luca Filippone

Luca Filippone is one of the managing partners of The Value Hub. As a passionate business man and expert in agile product delivery, creating value is what drives him every day. According to Luca, there’s no such thing as mediocre service. Only the best is good enough.

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