Project mobilisation is a key factor in the relative value attained by the end of any project, yet it isn’t being talked about by PMs enough. Before even starting, many projects are currently at risk of never reaching their full potential – this is because PMs today are not recognising mobilisation as one of the critical influences in a project’s success.
Any organisation looking to enhance the value of their project should place focus on project mobilisation. Yet so many seem to side-line it as a nuisance only to suffer the consequence later on when they realise they should have spent more time preparing for initialisation.
Mobilisation is a simple art form that corrects mistakes before they happen. At i2a, we usually make a point with our clients to recognise not just when but how we should be mobilising for each project we undertake. This article will highlight a few of the key mistake during project mobilisation that have the most impact as the project develops
Mistake #1 – Poor Resource Matching
Teams are often selected by immediate availability instead of the needed technical or soft skills. Projects are put at risk when critical skills are missing from your core team due to resource limitations and rushed recruitment. It is worth investing more budget into building a small core team of highly proficient and experienced people – ask questions that help you understand their soft skills and push for time where possible to find the best people for your team.
Mistake #2 – Indecisive Project Initiation
All projects need clarity in responsibilities, and this starts with a kick-off meeting. Without a clear start point many projects will drift slowly into action with little assigned responsibility. Host an official project kick-off meeting where your team members and other stakeholders can ask questions to clarify individual roles, responsibilities, key project milestones, deadline dates etc. By setting up a tangible event to declare the project’s initialisation your PM will prevent inefficiencies within their team and ensure all tasks and resources are allocated appropriately.
Mistake #3 – Unrealistic Time and Budget Requirements
Many projects do not take the time to accurately calculate the expected time and financial resources. Instead, taking shortcuts by relying on guesswork instead of research and poorly grounded assumptions to allocate budget resources and estimate project length. Instead, by taking a bottom-up approach to your resource-allocation your PM will increase the likelihood that the project will be able to deliver ahead of time estimations and under budget.
Mistake #4 – Weak communication with your project team and stakeholders
Placing efficient communication protocols between your stakeholders is absolutely critical. When things go wrong (and they will) all components of the team can become frustrated and grind to a halt. Having systems in place to keep all stakeholders informed on decisions, exceptions, changes, team structures etc. will create quicker coordination. This in turn, will reduce the severity of mistakes when they happen down the line.
Mistake #5 – Inability to react to scope creep
Ideally project scope should be agreed and baselined well in advance of the project kick-off. However, as projects develop and external environments create pressure, change requests will start trickling in. It is important to have a system for handling scope changes as they inevitably occur. They aren’t necessarily a bad thing, scope rigidity can be equally if not more detrimental as new information and ideas come to light. By including a set of assessment criteria for budget and schedule impact scope change can be enabled and controlled.
There really isn’t a perfect formula for mobilising a project – a PM should always consider each project as unique and needing tailored support both during mobilisation and throughout the rest of the project. There are definite pitfalls to consider during mobilisation that need to be managed carefully at risk of knock-on effects appearing as the project develops. By preparing for these mistakes you can guarantee a lower level of risk throughout your project.
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.