Delivery is a useful piece of jargon wielded popularly by project people everywhere. It saves having to write 'completing the project within expected time and precise costs, to arrive at desired outcome' repeatedly.
Delivery in the context of projects means getting things done a certain way, as you set out to do. Deliverables are delivered by a project - like a new product or software. In any project, the deliverables are spelled out initially, and on their foundation lies your project's success.
Project Delivery aims to realize the value or business benefits promised to the customer in each project. And the delivery of any project involves more than controlling the cost, scope, and time. A good Project Manager must thus consider all elements and integrate them to manage, forecast, and keep the project in control.
Understanding the needs and goals is also the fundamental pathway for any project to establish an effective, motivated and collaborative process throughout the project delivery. If every delivery team member understands what your customer is trying to achieve, how their role depends on it, and how they interact with the rest of the team, it contributes to realizing the vision.
Effective delivery is all about controlling and managing uncertainty. And controlled delivery is all about increasing the chances of your project's success in an otherwise uncertain world. During the delivery stage, the soul of your project is the monitor and control cycle. The monitor and control loop or cycle includes constant monitoring of what is happening in your project, comparing it to your initial plan, and intervening whenever necessary to bring it back to plan. If you were to go around this loop fast enough, you would be able to catch any problems while they are still small and require only a quick fix. A simple and subtle intervention will certainly go a long way in helping you understand very quickly whether you have got it right or if you need a further tweak. When you are not monitoring frequently enough, problems may become magnanimous by the time you spot them, and your interventions would then have to be very coarse. And when your intervention is just not right, your project could very well spiral out of control.
Reporting is vital for a variety of reasons.
The third discipline during your project delivery stage is risk and issue management. You need to review emerging issues and risks on the horizon constantly. Ensure you take swift action on your risks and continuously update your risk register. Be vigilant for new risks and problems and periodically get team members together to help identify them and rework your Risk Register.
Quality, the fourth discipline, has two parts. Initially, there is quality assurance. Quality Assurance is that part of quality management focused on ensuring that all quality requirements will be met and fulfilled. The confidence provided by quality assurance works to satisfy both internal management and customers, government agencies, regulators, certifiers, and third parties alike. And to deliver such quality assurance,
Therefore, quality assurance is about getting all the deliverables right and into beneficial use by the customer while meeting all standard requirements.
Next comes quality control.
While quality assurance relates to how a process is performed or how a product is made, quality control, on the other hand, is more about the inspection aspect of quality management. Quality control is thus the part of quality management focused purely on fulfilling quality requirements. It is the responsibility of every Project Manager to finally sign off on the deliverable released to the customer, implying that they know about what is being passed out to the customer.
Team members play a key role in your project delivery stage. The fifth discipline is to make sure that you hold regular team meetings that keep your members briefed. Your project transforms through each phase, and thus, the nature and style of your team meetings need to evolve accordingly to accommodate them. Share knowledge and offer praise and recognition for success but crucially work together to solve problems and identify issues that need to be worked out. Set up regular team meetings but craft them to take up no more time than required. Be thorough yet concise and give everybody a sense of ownership.
The sixth crucial rule is team morale. And team morale does not happen in meetings. While good, well-run meetings that offer recognition and praise do improve morale, an important part of maintaining that morale extends well beyond. As a project manager, it becomes indispensable that you take the time out to talk to team members, listen to them, and hear what they have to tell you. They may not be looking for a solution from you for all their problems. At times, a small acknowledgment or a tiny bit of support and guidance from you to help them solve their issues could go a long way. Maintaining team morale is critical, particularly during the high-pressure times of the project. And if you are not working on team morale when it is easy, and the team isn't under pressure, then picking up on it later when the team is under pressure would be an arduous task.
The seventh discipline, to make sure you are harvesting lessons learned as you go through the project, is related to team meetings and morale. Many project managers push their lessons learned to the back burner and work with it only as a closing stage activity. But, the best practice calls for immediate attention as and how the project progresses. Yes, you should be learning lessons at the end of your project, but if something were to go wrong today, it is wise not to wait till the very end to acknowledge, understand, and attend to it. Set up recurring 'lessons learned' meetings to look at any problems you may be having and learn the lessons as soon as possible. Likewise, if any of your colleagues discovered some discrepancies or anything clever to make a real and positive change to the project, implement and institutionalize any change imminently.
Stakeholders are a vital component of the success of any project. And once we get into the delivery phase, we often tend to stop engaging with our stakeholders. We think interacting with them during the planning and definition stages is sufficient. But, during delivery, we need to constantly check in with our stakeholders, maintaining their enthusiasm and momentum for the project while also dealing with any concerns. One other productive engagement from our stakeholders could be learning lessons they have learned. If a few stakeholders were to learn new things or encounter new problems or opportunities in the real world, you should take notes and feed in all that knowledge gained to improve your project.
There may be tons of perspectives on how to run a project successfully. But there may only be one plan that works perfectly for your project. And that is why a change control action plan is indispensable to your delivery phase. Don't yield to every change request that comes along the way that is sure to push the project way out of its scope, budget, and time. When the world changes, projects discover new things, and they need to change to keep up with the times. There may be political, commercial, sociological, or technological changes. And if you were to freeze all project requirements on day one and never revisit them, you may end up with a project that does not meet the organization's needs when the project finally delivers. Have a strong change control process and infrastructure to effectively process any changes during the delivery stage effectively.
To go the extra mile and delight your customers, pull out one last trick from your sleeve, the Retrospective Next Bend. The Next Bend process is a simple procedure and requires no more than twenty to thirty minutes of your time. Professionals such as Dr. Mike Cayton, business author, and speaker, swear by this process and always find the time to sit down and think about what's around the corner. During all the hustle and bustle of the project, we often overlook many things. And this is why we must sit down to retrospect and look at the entire project from a varied angle. Your retrospect may open avenues for you to get back at overlooked things or even lead you to open up a whole new stream of work on your project and be truly prepared for what's in the next bend.
And that's a wrap! Rocketlane's free and 100% customizable delivery plan template may help you do the trick of delightfully delivering projects every single time. The template includes quick aids on how to go about nailing your project delivery. Happy delivery!