8 strategies to save projects from getting shelved

What is Project Management?

Project Management strategies play a very important role in project management. Project Management is the art and science of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and monitoring various tasks of a team to meet certain targets.

In this article, we describe 8 project management strategies with which you can excel at handling your upcoming projects.

Facebook has pulled out of Aquila project and doesn’t want to get involved in the designing and development of drones. The social media giant has been working hard for the last 4 years to develop high-tech drones which would help people in accessing internet connectivity even at remote locations on earth. This, in turn, would enable everyone to get hooked onto Facebook at any nook and corner of the globe.

Designing project management strategies is becoming need of the hour. Stalling this project is indeed a disappointing move for Facebook, but has been done strategically to cut down its losses on the investment. This will also result in job losses of high-level technicians and core people involved in the development and maintenance of the aircraft.

Building a high-altitude communications aircraft was one of the most ambitious attempts of Facebook to reach the peak.  However, reports are abuzz that a huge gap in expertise and core competencies between Facebook and the aerospace company has prompted this move.

Things like these are common in the corporate world. Big ticket investments get shelved, ongoing projects are suddenly derailed, ambitious plans never take off and certain designs just remain on the drawing board. What can a company do to avoid unfortunate developments like this? Well, below are quite a few project management strategies for you to save your projects from getting scrapped.

1. Know the scope of the project well

A company must know the scope of the project before it commences. The scope of the project involves knowing the exact deliverables, the methodology of working on it, and the amount of flexibility & liberty that can be undertaken. In fact, the scope of the project must outline the aim of the project very distinctly. Whether it is for market expansion, customer retention, new product/service launch or business partnership, the aim must be clearly defined.

2. Ensure that the project is aligned with organizational strategies

Once the aim of the project is well-defined, the company must also ensure that the project goals are congruent to that of the organisation at large. For eg: if the project involves using products manufactured in the foreign land, but the organisation’s core aim is to promote domestic production, then such project is a misfit and will hamper the company’s brand image.

3. Determinants of success

Before beginning the project, a company must have the success determinants measured. In short, the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) must be well-defined. Is it the quality of the deliverable? The return on money invested? The amount of time taken? The number of human resources involved? The media coverage it garnered? The determinants could be many but it needs to be measured for the sake of analysis and tracking.

4. Identify potential risks

The more ambitious the project, the riskier it is. Risks to the upcoming project can arise from various factors be it internal or external. The company can go through a cash crunch, labour strike, unscheduled leaves of core professionals or other macro issues such as regulatory changes, political intervention, technology disruption or weak economic conditions. The company needs to identify the key elements of the project which might go wrong during implementation and how does it plan to minimise its impact.

5. Do thorough resource assessment

To do justice to the project, a company needs to allocate necessary resources for it. The resource allocation has to be optimum, which means a company cannot allow an excess resource to the project nor can it afford to operate with less than required resources. Before taking up a project, a company must undertake honest resource assessment. Do we have the number of personnel to be allocated? Do they have the required expertise to complete the project? Can we make arrangements to hire additional resources if required? Honest answers to these questions help a company to do a reality check and allocate the resources.

6. Assess the impact on rest of the organisation

There are projects which impact the whole organisation, while there are projects that are very department specific. A company needs to perform the environment assessment test to find:

  • How many personnel from each department involved in the project?
  • How many resources are shared within the departments?
  • Is the project-specific only to the IT Department, Marketing department or Finance Department?
  • How will the potential changes in the project impact the organisation?

7. Carry out project tracking

Peter Drucker rightly says, “You can’t manage, what you can’t measure”. Before planning to take up a project a company must always plan how to track its progress and outcome. Traditional models like Gantt charts, Football graph and PERT or modern methods such as data visualisation, analytics or Big data can be used to track the outcome of the project. Without keeping a tab on the progress of the project, a company will not be able to take necessary action for rectification.

8. Create alternative plans

Having a Plan B is one of the most helpful project management strategies. If a project designed with a specific objective in mind is shelved due to unavoidable reasons, a company should design another project to achieve the same objective. For eg: Facebook shelved the drone project but to fulfill his objective of proving internet access to the remotest part of the world, it is creating a Mapping team. This team would use data from OpenStreetMap and satellite images to search for areas with limited internet access.

The Bottom line

Each project means a lot to any organisation. A project getting shelved is a major wastage of resources such as time, money, personnel. Not just this, it also leads to job cuts and tarnishes the brand image of the company. But, the good news is, it can be avoided to a great extent if a company undertakes proper planning and due diligence before commencing a project.

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