8 Effective Strategies for Delivering Large and Complex IT Projects

Editorial Team

strategies for complex projects

There are many moving pieces in the complex IT projects which if not followed; the project may become a slippery slope. Project management is a very complex discipline to navigate and understand. There are many terms, areas of knowledge and key phases to completely understand the project management. This article will provide your necessary strategies and tips to help you successfully manage any IT project. This guide is important because many projects fail due to lack of knowledge in the field of project management.

1. Documentation Of The Project

Complex IT projects demand extra measures to make sure that you are moving in the right direction. The projects remain complex and opaque if it is not documented properly. The clear documentation on the individual basis can help in the management of the project.

The documentation must be clear and up to date as well to ensure that all the issues are dealt on time. The documentation will also help in defining the roles of the individuals. It also defines when particular individuals need to deliver the project. It also makes sure that the complete project is not inside someone’s head and everyone can have a look at the documents.

The documentation is also helpful because at any stage during the project, anyone can come on board and have a clear roadmap for them and see where the project is going. You can ensure the complete documentation of the project you can also create a high-level timeline of the complete project and see the overall progress of the team and look on their individual performances as well.

Send the complete documented status of the project to the whole team so that they know about the progress of the project. The clear documentation also increases the confidence of all the stakeholders that the project is moving with the right pace; you can inform the complete project status to the team and other stakeholders on a weekly basis.

2. Select a Certified Project Manager

Project management is a vast field and you need someone who is experienced in that field. The skill of the manager is important for sure but if your manager is Project Management Professional (PMP) certified, they will surely take your project to the next level.

A study conducted by Pulse of the Profession in 2015 stated that if one-third of the managers of any project are PMP certified, the projects are completed on their due time and in their budget. Project manager matters a lot because generally 74% of the projects all over the world are late and 59% crosses their budget and only 69% meet their original goals. These numbers can be different if you are hiring a PMP certified manager for your IT project.

3. Develop Your Team Members

Your team members are an asset for you and you need to invest in them regularly and make sure that they are developing in their particular field. You need them to get high-level certifications, but they should develop themselves as a team and strengthen their skills and increase the overall value of the team.

The project managers and the heads of different departments in any project are too busy to develop each and every individual so you need to create different development programs for your team members. You can select any day of the week and give them different development courses and programs on that day. Conduct monthly live training conferences for them or you can also buy different training programs online which they can listen individually.

The most important thing is that don’t give them the training in their own time rather dedicate some time during the work hours, they will feel more energetic in it, if they are asked to learn anything in their own time, they will feel it a burden on themselves.

4. Communication Training Is Important

Communication between all the departments is very important. You need to put a lot of focus on the training of communication between all the departments.

Firstly, you need to understand what the communication is; dumping a few words on them expecting them to understand everything is not the communication. This model is what most of the companies are using in managing their projects and the reason for their failure or delays of the project.

Communication is a lot more than mere words. It is actually a combination of body language, listening, choosing the right words and that too the one which is effective. It’s a mutual understanding between different people who are working in the same department. If the communication is good their understanding will become a solution for the problems and you will develop new ideas for the projects. The team can only get solutions when they are having great communications among them.

Communication in any project is directly linked with the performance of the individuals working on it. The behaviors of the teams which are creating the right kind of buzz in the market are different from the others and they have good communication among each other. The manner of communication changed the things for them.

The right way of communication can be achieved by speaking and listening in equal measures and not talking about anyone else. Make sure that the team members make eye contact with each other and express energetic gestures as well. They should connect with each other as well besides the team leaders. They should not confine themselves to the team and bring out information from outside and share it with others.

In short, effective communication is the most important thing for complex IT projects. The bad aspect is that most of the companies are not paying attention to the communication however, if they know the importance, they would surely pay attention to it. Train your team for good communication now that you know its importance.

5. Hire Detail-Oriented Team Leaders

Team leaders in any project matter and they are on the driving seat for the whole project. Hiring a team leader who can look over multiple departments can give you the right understanding between all the departments in complex IT projects.

Hiring an expert team leaders is important but they must know how to run a team. Management skills is something which can be taught to anyone but you cannot teach them how to lead a team. If you are having strong management leaders for your projects, they will allow you to take bigger risks. You can also take big projects with confidence and leave everything on your leaders.

6. Strong Technical Lead

Complex IT projects often demand the use of multiple technologies and components for a tailored solution so you need a strong technical team to address all these things. These projects have a lot of uncertainty in them and don’t move according to the plan, new information emerges throughout the project so then you need to change your strategy accordingly. A strong technical lead can manage this type of complexities and make sure that you become successful at the end of the project.

You need to access your technical lead before taking any project. Check the track record of your team, can they manage the complex situation and help you during uncertain circumstances. You don’t need to take the risk of getting a complex project with a weak team. You must have your own influence over the person who is leading the team so that you can assist and command whenever needed during the project.

7. Be Ready For Alteration

The plan or methodology may change during the project. You don’t need to focus on a single plan if it is not working shift to the other and try to get the success from it. The alteration during the project is very important and it can help you manage complex projects. However, if the project is moving in the right direction, you don’t need to change the plan, but the situation demands you to show flexibility, you should be ready for it.

Some projects may benefit from the flexibility but some are too big to take such risks. This is wholly your decision whether to alter the plan or not. If you are using a traditional methodology, it can be risky for your project, you should ask yourself before the project, that how flexible you can become in it.

The alteration during the project also allows you to split the project into different phases and complete each of them differently. If the projects are not flexible, you can use this technique and divide them into different phases and complete them separately.

However, talking too much risk, or going completely away from the plan or strategy is not recommended, you need to ask yourself before the project that how far you need to go from the traditional approach and how much flexibility your project can take and still become successful. Similarly, if you are looking to complete it in different phases, ask yourself how many phases should be made of it and how you are going to deliver them. Consider before the project that which method is more useful for the organization or the client you are working with and then move forward.

8. Decision-Making Structure

The problem with the large IT projects is that the landscape may change at once, and unexpected technical problems may occur anytime. You need to make decisions on a timely basis and effective manner because there is no room for the holdup during the project. You need effective decision making at all the levels of the organization especially when you are working on a complex IT project because then you need to work on multiple locations.

Decision making should be improved within the organization, organize weekly working group meetings for all the team leads. Conduct different monthly committee meetings of all the executives to make sure that all the decisions are made on time.

The aim of this meeting should be that the team leaders and the business leads can discuss different decisions about the imminent issues and the detail requirements of the project. The team leaders should also inform the committee about the progress of the project at large. Most of the projects fail because the decision-makers are not connected with each other and they don’t know the requirements of the project. The best decision-making structure is locked down decisions.

You need to decide before the project that which structure you are going to follow in that project and was it effective previously or not? Check whether the representatives have the power to take decisions at their own level for their teams and the areas of the work? These two things are important and can decide the decisions making of your project.

Project management is not an easy thing at all. You need to remember throughout the project that what you are doing and what are the reasons behind those decisions. You may show flexibility in your plans but in the end, you need a good project manager to manage all these things for you. The project manager if hired using the right scale, will add value to the complete project and complete it more efficiently and effectively and reduces the risks involved in it. If you are running a project without the project manager, the complete project is at risk.

Right from the start of the project, you need to document the project and develop the team members to make sure that they have the right and relevant skills related to the project. The communication should be covered right from the start and the effective communication without interruption can save the time of the project.

You don’t need to settle for the traditional ways rather implement the above-mentioned strategies and tips to make sure that the project is moving with the right speed and not increasing the overall budget.

Did you find these strategies helpful? If you are a project manager what all do you do on the project to make it successful? Share your views in the comments below.