No one can guarantee that a Project will be a successful or a fail, but as a Project Manager with experience in Software Projects, the best thing you can do is follow best practices, show visibility in the project, have good communication with the client, the team and anticipate most things that can happen along the way. So, let’s start with the matter, there are three important pillars that should be considered when starting a project, no matter what type of project it is.
1. Define the scope:
The first thing we should understand about the project is: ¿What does the client want? and ¿What is the key point?
You will think, in many projects the three are the key point, however, as Project Managers we must always find the most important for the client, because it is not always about what he wants, but it is what he should have. Once we have established that, it is important to plan several meetings to understand what the project is about and that all stakeholders have the same vision.
Then it is time to set up a proposal in which all the requirements of the project will be listed, these are three ways to list the requirements:
• Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
• Consult with an expert or do a research on the subject
It’s important not to have a high level of granularity in a project because it can be difficult to estimate the cost and time afterwards but also a low level of granularity because the project can eventually be complicated.
The client must review the proposal and if everything looks as he wishes, it is essential to have the proposal signed. The project should not be started until all interested parties are agree with what will be delivered at the end of the project.
2. Estimate the cost and time
50% of the projects will be delivered late or over the planned budget. So, it is probably not a good idea to go with the lowest estimate.
When we use the lowest estimate, there is a 95% or 99% chance that the project will be delivered late.
Let’s look at the following graph as an example:
If the client requires a penalty clause, the estimate can be calculated within 50, 55 or even 60 to be insured.
If you are looking for the client to contract the project, you could go a little low with the estimate, but you have to keep in mind that it is less likely to deliver the project on time. You should also require bid bonds to ensure that the bidder has the expertise and wherewithal to finish the job.
Only 10% of the projects will be late or over budget, 90% assures success if the estimate is between the average and maximum.
Recommendation: Go with the estimation of the average between the average and the maximum.
Adding this contingency is not really for us as a company, it is to deliver the project to the client on a feasible date. With this, we are adding time on what we know and what we don’t know, which would be an estimated time for the extra unexpected work that needs to be done.
3. Plan the risk
After understanding the project and all its implications, we must ask ourselves:
¿What could possibly go wrong?
• Involve the team.
• Review previous projects.
• Create a report to track the risks.
In addition, it is important to have the risk plan updated every day while the project is in progress and review it with clients or project stakeholders.