Monday, May 27, 2013

Follow-up for a successful project completion.

Communication has been always a key challenge in all most any matter we come across in our daily life. I guess it is because all matters centers around our interaction or relationship with others be it our spouse, colleagues, parents, siblings, friends.

During project management, project plan, task due date, availability ( or unavailability), issues, risks, actions required all need to be communicated to the right party at the right time with the right level of details. If we communicate too early it may be forgotten especially "busy" people who may find it annoying as they are probably chasing after late tasks. If we have these people in the project, its going to be nightmare for the project managers. On the other hand, if you communicate too near to task start date or due date, it becomes "your mistake/problem".

So to handle these situations, we need to communicate frequently a.k.a do close follow-ups

i) Give a tinkle 1 week before to the task owner to ask if she or he will be available to perform the task. If not then we need to source for the replacement. Don't be surprise if people go on leave during the time you need them to perform certain tasks. This happens even in multi-national companies (MNCs) or in projects that have a very clear project plan and senior members.

ii) The follow-up with the task owner 1-2 days before to ask if they have started the work or are ready to perform the task as planned. I am sure you wonder why I ask if they have started the work even before the start date. Some people are actually efficient that usually start work earlier. That's how they manage their time. For those who hasn't start it is kind of a soft reminder for them. Either way it is a win-win situation.

The first 2 above can provide us an idea if there is any risks for that tasks. These issues must be documented, tracked and escalated if needed.

iii) Third follow-up should be done mid-way of the task to gauge the progress. The number of follow-ups depends on how long is a particular task and how comfortable are we with the task owner. If we have good experience with the task owner then we can afford less follow-up with them. Otherwise it is safer to have more frequent follow-ups. We may want to ask for some kind of proofs as well if our level of confidence on the task owner is very less. Some people has a tendency to start work on the due date specially on short tasks that is planned for 1-2 days. Although short tasks, if they are in critical path, then they will cause delay in the project progress. So we need to be very vigilant here. This is also where we have the "right" to get the task owner to work on their tasks.

This 3rd item can provide us an idea if there are any issues for that tasks.

iv) Finally we need to follow-up to know if the task has been completely successfully. Successfully ?? Yes. It means you must have a way to gauge every tasks completion to determine if indeed it can be considered successfully completed. After all, the project manager is responsible for the successful completion of his project and that means successfully completion of each and every the tasks in that project.

Happy project managing !!

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