Tradition versus Innovation
All companies have the same type of problem when deciding to begin a new development project: the enormous number of complex variables it involves.
One of the possibilities is to reduce the number of variables and minimize the risk, but how can the development team achieve this goal?
The traditional technique involves a big group of people. This small army will face three problems. First, the challenge of analyzing and developing the huge project; second, the interaction of team members; and, last, but not least, the turnover when one or more members decide to leave the team. These situations will have the same result, which is a delay– and time is money.
One solution to this problem is to divide a big project into a list of small projects. However, the objective should be the same: resolve the problem.
Opening your Mind
The process we propose consists of creating a list of different points. This list is variable and depends on the type of project and its Project Manager’s (PM) knowledge.
The first step is to divide the big and complex project into a group of few and simple tasks. This division is based on a series of factors. Here, we are going to mention just a few:
- The structure of the company: evaluate if it is possible to divide a group of people depending on the objective, subject or interest.
- The type of technology: if there are many different technologies involved, the project can be separated accordingly. This is beneficial because there will be more than one short life cycle being completed at the same time.
- The customer: the length of the cycle depends on the customer’s approval.
The traditional technique tackles the entire process and tries to find the highest number of complex variables involved at the same time. This type of work creates a lot of problems and, in most cases, the result is that time is lost.
Frequently, when the PM sets the delivery time, the variables have not all been clearly established. It is very common that complex variables appear when the project is in process and these variables produce more work and new definitions at later stages. This causes delays in deadlines, higher costs and customer uncertainty about the agreed schedule.
Staff turnover is one of the biggest issues. People can get tired and decide to abandon the project, and, as a result, their expertise is lost and the development takes longer.
How Should You Tackle the Project?
- First, focus on the cycle and have a clear objective. This will make the road short and relatively simple.
- Reduce the customer’s anxiety. Reasonably short periods of time allow the customer to see the project’s progress sooner.
- If new variables appear, it won’t be a big problem because there will be few .
- If there is high staff turnover, you will be able to handle it fairly easily.
- When analysts finish their work in a cycle, they derive tasks to other people and start working on the next step of the following cycle.
Big projects have a long life cycle. The best solution at the time the project began might not be the best solution at the time the project is being developed. Technology and people change.
By working like this, we can keep our projects up to date using the latest technology. The idea is to take small steps to walk the long road more efficiently.
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