Tips for Managing Contracted Government Projects
Tips for Managing Contracted Government Projects
When a company wins a government project, it is expected to perform as per the set milestones and timelines. This is sometimes a challenge for several firms. There are several internal and external factors that cause the project to derail. However, if the company takes the necessary precautions and drafts a clear plan, the project can run all the way smoothly. Here are a few tricks for managing contracted government projects.
Putting down every project detail
Laying a foundation for a project is very important and affects the running of the project. The company should start by having all the stakeholders buy-in into the project. In The government projects, the stakeholders are the government itself, the organization, or the community that is to benefit from the project and finally, the company that is undertaking the project. The stakeholders will determine whether a project is successful or not. Thus, their expectations and interests must be taken into consideration in the implementation of the project.
The company must identify the scope of the project and the roles of different team members in executing the project. In addition, the company should develop a project plan and give timelines for the key elements of the projects. There should also be criteria for measuring success, getting necessary approvals for installations, industry regulations and product functionality before the project gets off the ground. All these details are critical to the project success.
Identification of team and project requirements
Successful implementation of the project requires one assemble an effective team. A project team is made of several smaller groups and individuals that are working on a common goal and their skills are applied in a structured way to achieve the goal.
The firm should identify the resources available and how they can be mobilized together to work as a whole in the project. Skills and talents should be aligned with a clear instruction where each applies in the project and what they will be doing.
Identification of a capable project leader
When working on a project, individuals work as a team. Every team requires a team leader. The leader’s tasks include cultivation good relations between several teams. He or she is a mentor and motivator to the team. Furthermore, the project manager is the link between the team working on a project and different stakeholders to the project. Thus, he communicates the stakeholders’ concerns and instructions to the team and the team concerns and requests back to the stakeholders.
The choice of a project leader should be someone that has exceptional management, interpersonal and leadership skills. He or she should be a person that ascertains rough times ahead and makes plans to mitigate the problems. Above all, the project manager should understand the project and possess the right credentials to run the project.
Keeping an eye on critical project milestones
It is important to identify the defining moments in the implementation of the project. The defining moments are at the completion of any main phase of the project. Before the start of the next phase, it is crucial to review the performance of the phase that has just been completed.
Did the team complete the phase within the estimated period? Was the budgetary allocation enough for the phase? What was the quality of work as rated by the client (who is the government)? What needs to be done differently in the next phase of the project? A critical analysis of the critical milestones helps the team avoid critical mistakes, unnecessary delays, and help check for any quality gaps in the project.
At this point, the team can test the deliverables at every stage of the project lifecycle. All plans and assumptions must be validated. If there is anything that does not meet and exceed customer expectations, it should be rethought, redesigned, and redone in a better way.
Communication lines should be open
Communication lines among the team members, between the team and stakeholders, and between the contracted firm and the government should be kept as open as possible The project leader should be the focal point in keeping the communication channels running.
For communication lines to keep open, the communication among the groups stated above should be honest, clear, and consistent. Everyone should be on the same page when working out plans and implementing them. Furthermore, members should feel free to communicate their concerns and suggestions without fear of victimization.
The firm has to go further in ensuring that it gets timely feedback from the team on the ground. It needs to put in place an escalation strategy and a guideline on how team members escalate issues. The strategy should show what issues are escalated to whom, and what issues can be solved amongst the team members without the hand of the management.
Documentation is very vital
From the time when the project is initiated and milestones created, all the stakeholders should sign all communications and plans that touch on the major aspects of the business. Documentation ensures that all the stakeholders are in the same line and covers the team should any of the stakeholders retract from the agreement. Once the project is completed, the clients sign a document to shoe that the project has been handed over to them.
All documentation should be in line with the methodology of the project implementation, terms of deliverables and expected timelines. However, it is important not to create so much unnecessary documentation as it complicates the project and drags some tasks as the team awaits the documentation process to be completed.
Scope creeps must be managed
It is normal to have a few changes in the scope of the project as its implementation proceeds. However, repeated and big changes in the scope of the project are a recipe for chaos. This will make it impossible for the firm to reach the intended goal.
Creeps result from the addition of some elements in a project that has already been planned and is in the process of implementation. When changes are being done on a project other considerations such as increasing the budget, adding the period within which the project should be completed, and adding more relevant resources to the project should be made. If such creeps are overlooked, there is likelihood that the project will not go on as planned and may be chaotic.
There should be realistic goals
Many firms set estimated dates without proper consideration of all the factors in place and problems that might crop up during the project implementation. Most of the dates are put to impress the client without accurate forecasting.
All parties should discuss goals and timelines and any eventuality accounted for. This way, the firm will not be under pressure to deliver within very short periods. A rushed project is most likely going to be a substandard project.
Management of government contracted projects should be done using a methodology that identifies, resources, timelines, eventualities and a means of measuring progress. All parties should also be involved in the running of the project and any changes should get the right approvals. Poor project management may cost a company future government projects.