The projects status often turns upside down within weeks. You must have seen; the Project Status Reports (PSR) indicating Green traffic lights in one report and Amber and Red in the next. In other words, the project gets off the track with between two PSRs.
We can certainly be smarter about it by looking at the leading indicators.
The following list will help you:
- No sense of urgency: Project sponsor and board do not communicate the importance of the project. There is no carrot, no stick. As a result, the project team works on their own pace and may miss milestones without much notice.
- Resources are not committed to the project: The leadership team do not dedicate project resources to the project. Therefore, the BAU work always takes priority over the project work. The same is true when vendor leadership do not commit resources as per the project plan.
- No clear project business case and objective: It is one of the significant reasons of distraction in the project world.
- Lack of executive sponsorship: Project sponsor and the board plays a vital role in project success. If the appropriate executives are not in the Steering Committee, then it is likely to hamper the decision-making process and can cause project delay.
- Burn rate is slower than planned: It means that the team is going at a slower pace than plan. Therefore, proactively investigate the root cause of a slower burn rate.
- Burn rate is not proportional to percentage completion: In this scenario, the team is taking more time to complete the tasks in progress. Investigate and adjust the plan, if required.
- No news on the tasks from the team: Sometimes, we do not hear any update from the project resources. No news is not good news. Reach out to the team for the update to avoid any bitter surprises.
- Only good news: All is well is a distraction and deception. Project managers must probe, seek to get direct and indirect feedback to understand real progress on the project tasks.
- Another symptoms: The following are common symptoms, so keep them in check:
- Poor – risk management, planning, scope control and decision making
- Frequent change of resources
- Trying to satisfy everyone
- A long chain of command/lengthy approval process