Project completion is difficult, but it is hardest when they are started poorly. Project mobilisation can make or break a project’s overall success, it needs to be talked about as a unique and independent challenge in any project. Too many PMs rush into projects without taking the necessary steps to ensure a strong mobilisation, leaving potential pitfalls and problems to be triggered later in the project. The actions highlighted in this article can be used by any PM to ensure stakeholders goals are met consistently.
Action #1 – Clearly Identify the value of your proposed project to stakeholders
In most organisations it is hard to get attention focused on one particular project. If the PM can’t gain the focus of stakeholders they risk receiving insufficient support and resources. Before your PM starts the project ensure you have clearly outlined the value of the project in a Business Case that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders. Keep it short and simple but make sure it’s obvious to everyone involved how this project will bring value – once you have this pitch ready it will be easier to gain support from all your stakeholders.
Action #2 – Consider technical capabilities AND soft skills when building your core team
Your core team members are probably the most vital component of the project’s development. Without the right strengths in this team the project will be destined for delays, under delivery and over budget. When building your team evaluate not just the technical qualifications but also their soft skills. Consider questions like is my organisation difficult to navigate bureaucratically? Will the project be agile and require creative team members?
Unfortunately, this problem is often constricted by cost overruns and finding new hires is often not viable. The first step should be to identify strengths within the existing team and develop their skill sets where possible before filling the gaps by pushing for more hires
Action #3 – Initiate the phase focusing on relationship building and establishing internal trust
Now the team with the relevant skills is assembled for the identified challenges, you will want to assign roles and develop work breakdown structures as quickly as possible. This is still discouraged at this point in mobilisation. Your team is built with professionals who are individually competent but need to work together effectively for project success. Because of this, mobilisation needs to focus time on relationship building. Learn about the different personalities in your teams and agree on some simple ground rules for working together and utilising everyone’s skills. This will get the team not only running smoothly but more invested in the success of your project personally.
Action #4 – a lot of time to focus on creative solutions before committing to a delivery plan
This might sound obvious, but many projects get caught up trying to initiate development and move progress along to get the most efficient result possible. This means jumping straight into “doing” work – completing the tasks assigned as quickly as possible. When projects start like this they will miss a chance to do some “thinking” work – creative, outside-the-box thinking that leads to original innovations that could benefit the project in the long run. PM’s who organise creativity sessions early on will be surprised to find the ingenuity of the time and resource saving solutions that their team are able to produce when given the opportunity before the project.
Action #5 – collaborate within your team to develop a project brief answering key questions before execution
Creating a strong project brief is arguably the single most important action in a project brief as it’s quality can be felt throughout the length of the project to all stakeholders as a point of reference.
There are a few tips and tricks to writing an effective project brief, so we have written about them in this blog post here!
Mobilisation is an aspect of every project regardless of method (Waterfall, Agile etc.) so the fact that there are very few best practices or opinions on the topic is concerning. However, it gives PM’s a new opportunity to create increased value in most projects for comparatively little work. Although there is more pressure now than ever to get projects moving so they can get finished, make sure you have your PM take their time with project mobilisation and reap the dividends as the project develops.
If you are interested in improving your organisation’s projects through stronger mobilisation get in touch with our team at www.i2a.co.uk/contact for advice and support.