ABC* recruited me for one of its most troubled projects called “SOS”. SOS problems tarted from inadequate project planning and management which trickled down from development team to testing team, end users and hence to 24*7 “Production Support team (PST)”, where I was deployed.
PST was facing different problems because of lack of project management methodologies implemented by ABC as summarized below.
1. Ambiguous Scope: Major issue for PST team was that management didn’t developed project charter to clearly define the scope, especially responsibilities of PST team. As per PST management, PST was only supposed to provide temporary fixes of issues, but not responsible for maintenance of codes which should be handled by development and maintenance (D&M) team. But D&M team thinks otherwise. In short, it was not clear to what extent PST was responsible for maintaining the codes leading to confusion, politics, delay in providing permanent fixes and customer dissatisfaction.
2. Lack of Processes: Within PST team, Processes were not well defined. For example, there was not any formal process for new issue assignment. Many team members used to start working on same issue leading to redundancy and inefficiency. Secondly, there was no standard documentation process because of which PST team was unable to develop strong knowledge database (KB). Because of lack of KB, team was reinventing the wheel every time resulting in slow issue resolution and additional cost for ABC.
3. Lack of clear role definition: Because of lack of project charter, there was confusion on roles and authorities of different team members which was leading to power politics, adding to employee dissatisfaction. Most of the time was spent on assigning issues to one another, without any formal authority, leading to inefficiency and delay in providing deliverables to customers.
4. Unrealistic expectations: Because of lack of implementation of project management methodologies related to project scoping, scheduling and resource assessment, Management committed to resolve unrealistic number of issues per day. It completely ignored the factor that most of the PST is new and is in beginning of learning curve, no formal training or knowledge transfer sessions were conducted to teach the team and there is shortage of skills and resources.
Because of lack of implementation of project management methodologies as described above, Project ran into problems like high attrition rate, and high number of service level agreement (SLAs) non-compliance etc.
1. ABC top management must come up with formal project charter for PST defining its roles and scope to avoid ambiguity over issues being handled by it. It should be clearly communicated to PST and involved stakeholders.
2. Project Charter also must define clear authority and roles of team members to avoid politics and confusion.
3. Within project, PST should implement project management methodologies to formally develop the process and to implement them to reduce redundancy and to improve efficiency. It will help in cost reduction and improving customer satisfaction.
4. PST should also implement project management methodologies for project scoping, scheduling and resource assessment to develop clear roadmap and timelines.
5. PST should also define KPIs to identify progress and communicate its own worth to top management
*Names are disguised.
prepared by GSJ.