End of the day a successful project completion (meeting customer expectations/deadlines/budget) is what matters for all the stakeholders. Most of the time Project Managers struggle and overthink about external aspects than the things internally they can achieve and make perfect. The below aspects are very much controllable and achievable internally by the Project manager and team.
Team Culture is an important aspect of a successful project completion. The team is not just a group of people who gather to complete a task, but Team is a group of people who respect, trust and care for each other to accomplish a common goal, that goal is none other than the successful completion of the project. Most of the time we do the mistake of keeping out the client/customer/Product Owner out of the project team. Tent to limit their participation only for progress review meetings and Demo’s. It’s a very costly decision when analyzing the reasons for failed projects. Modern-day projects with clients/customers technology advancement is very high, so the inputs and feedbacks of clients/customers throughout the project life cycle is very important. So, they will become an active partner inside the team.
Main qualities of a Successful team culture :
The most important element of a successful team, team members should freely and promptly communicate their tasks progress/delays/doubts and difficulties. Each of them know how important it is to communicate his/her update to the team. They can get full use of the team meetings, by asking whatever question they have and it will be clarified during the meeting. All team members must make sure they discuss related things that relate to the meeting, (sometimes the meeting is started with something and finished with something unrelated and not in scope as well).
- The persistent sense of urgency
When a team has a task each individual rallies around it to complete the tasks as quickly as possible, there are multiple advantages of this. If we face unforeseen issues we have enough time to attend to it and complete the task without a delay. The end result is a happy customer (deliver on or before the deadline) and end of the day smooth release with a peaceful mind (Dream of any team).
The awful thing about this is, if one person lacks a sense of urgency, it will affect the whole team.
A can-do attitude is very important among team members, modern software development industry technologies change very rapidly with the same rate of requirement getting change. Not only teams even the companies would survive if they have a can-do approach. The main quality of a team with a can-do approach is when they get a task, they give priority to look for the ways to accomplish, while conscious of unclear areas.
When it’s come to life there is a saying what matters is how you finished, not the way you start, but it’s the other way when it comes to projects. In projects, a solid start is very important to successful completion. How are we going to get a solid start for a project?
Well-defined scope and decomposition to task level are the keys because it allows the team to handle the progress of each task precisely. Mainly Each Task should have the below characteristics :
- Task Name
- Description of Task
- Description of done (Acceptance Criteria)
- Links to all supporting Documentation (Flow Diagrams/Wire Frames/SRS ..etc)
Most of the Project Management tools easily support the above characteristics. Project Managers should make sure that all the main stakeholders in the project use the defined task names and terms, sometimes using different task names for the same tasks confuses the team and will lead to a failure of the project.
- The resource assigned for the tasks should have at least 80% confidence in estimation. In a scenario where the estimation does not come from the resource who works on the task, a person who estimated must sit with the resource and explain reasons and expected level of effort. It is recommended to do the estimation with all team members, which will give much accuracy and visibility.
- The person who estimates the task should have 100% understanding of the Task Definition and Acceptance criteria.
- Due to the nature of the technical challenges of the task, it is always advised to keep an agreed buffer.
There are a few questions that we should ask before assigning tasks :
Do they have the skills, tools, and resources needed to complete the task?
If not, we have to identify before assigning tasks or the very beginning of the tasks. This is where the team needs to report hindrances that are slowing or completely holding up the task Promptly.
Are they clear on the Task Definition & Requirements for the task?
Very Delicate question, most of the time we experience yes as the answer, but the end result is not what expected. Due to the severity of the task, sometimes getting written confirmation from resources is recommended. It will ensure the team thoroughly understands its tasks to prevent wasting a lot of time doing rework after QA release.
Do they understand what defines the task as complete?
Simply prevents discovering too late that the declared percentage of completion was higher than the actual percentage and that the work will not require more time to complete. Also how far behind on the actual timeline. Good Project Managers ask below two questions every day to make sure the team doesn’t fall into any of the above situations.
- What is the remaining effort needed to complete the Task?
- Is there anything inhibiting progress on the Task?
Incomplete Tasks Release
A very sensitive and challenging aspect of successful project completion. Most of the time PM’s and above the PM’s level get confused with the word ‘Complete’ because Developer Level complete should be 100% complete of the task after development level testing (there should not be 5 min/ 2mins remaining small tasks in Completed tasks) and for QA ‘Complete’ means it is ready to release to end customer (No Bugs). If this understanding has not streamed line properly among team members, it will lead to a very uncomfortable situation for all the stakeholders.
How can we avoid Incomplete Tasks Release?
- Each Resource should maintain their own work calendar
- 100% Commitment to the assigned task
- Stick into the defined scope, don’t try to do overwork – most of the cases resources try to give perfect solutions than proposed. PM’s should be very delicate on this because this situation is like a double-edged sword. If we don’t handle it properly it will impact the momentum of the resource as well.