Defining the Right Process for Your Projects
With all the background work completed, we are now ready to get your project started! But before we go into a full speed sprint, we must carefully set up all the necessary parts, so your project will indeed proceed in the way we have agreed on. We know what our approach will be. It is time to break that down to finer granularities and fill in more levels of detail. Logistics is the flight plan of a project. Time spent piecing together the logistics is invaluable in maintaining the project’s operational soundness. So, let’s get started.
No project of any significant scale has just a start and an end date. To keep a project on target, it is imperative to establish phases that take the project from start to finish, and are reasonable, sensible, and manageable. More complex projects may involve multiple concurrent threads of advancement, each having its own set of phases. Careful planning of these concurrent threads and optimizing them logistically through resource scheduling and exploitation of overlaps can have a significant impact on overall operational efficiency and provide safeguards against the unforeseen. We will work closely with you to delineate phases for your project that are comfortable for both of us.
Once in a while, we land a project where all costs are fixed and paid upfront, and we get to spread out the budget as we see fit. Those clean scenarios are, unfortunately, rare. Within your organization, there is inevitably a long list of directions towards which funding needs to go and must be prioritized against this project. We understand that, and we can work around it… as long as we know where the speed bumps are ahead of time. Budget dictates velocity. Once we get a better understanding of how your project’s total budget will flow in across the expected duration of the project, we can establish a more precise mapping of the budget to the phases and the phases to actual dates, and see if any adjustments to the target end date need to be made.
The final quality of any project boils down to one thing and one thing only: How well can the project team adhere to the project plans and execute them with discipline? In other words, how fitting is the team to the project? Put fighter jet engines on a commercial airliner, you will end up with a lot of very upset passengers. Staffing the correct talent within the available budget is not the same as staffing the most expensive talent the budget can afford. Depending on your budgetary, velocity, reporting, and other needs, we will create a custom tailored staffing breakdown for your project. Then, we will transition the right talents across all BLT locations globally on to your project, and prepare them for the upcoming ignition sequence.
Now that a fitting project team has been created, the first step in getting them set up is to ensure your new team is armed with all the necessary knowledge to navigate through your existing systems and work with them. This knowledge usually includes both documented and tacit. For example, you might have a well-known software solution that we need to interface with, but you prefer a different way of doing a few things here and there than what’s standard. We need to know that. With your help, we can quickly identify all the individuals from your organization with whom we need to speak, and formulate a meetings progression to acquire all the knowledge that we need, while being as non-intrusive to your other operations as possible.
At BLT, our operations, both internal and client-originated, are heavily compartmentalized to provide access only where it is needed, without impeding the free flow of best practices and newly developed know-hows. As the second step in the setup process, we will grant your new team all the access to our systems they will need to work effectively on your project. Concurrently, we will work with you to secure the appropriate access to your systems for them, those generally include: Development and testing environments for the developers. To stay as close to your production environment as possible and for the security of your data, we will build all parts of your project within the environments you already have;
Task tracking and ticketing system for selected personnel. Over the past decade, we have evolved our tracking and ticketing system to bring out our highest operational efficiency. We strongly recommend that you take advantage of this and use our system for your project. However, if you really could not, we will also understand. In that case, we kindly ask you to grant us access to your system only for the specific personnel we have selected; and Communication systems, such as Slack, for team members. As with the tracking and ticketing system, we have a number of systems at our disposal that can significantly streamline the communications between your staff and ours. For example, we can offer free teleconferencing access that’s joinable anywhere in the world for all our meetings, where anyone can share their screen for a more visual experience, and everything is automatically recorded and transcribed for easy referencing at a later date. However, if you really could not take advantage of these conveniences and optimizations, we kindly ask you to grant us access to your system.
Knowing the pulse of your project is both comforting and necessary. As the third step in the setup process, we will work closely with you to find a suitable reporting frequency that accommodates everyone’s planning needs and ensures project velocity. A collaboration between our operations staff and project managers will deliver all reports and field all questions, in order to keep the team’s velocity steady on your project. Internally, we have defined reporting protocols for everything from hours to progress to key performance indicators. Our protocols are closely tied to our communications and project management infrastructures to allow accurate pulse checks on projects, and the highlighting and addressing of any potential areas of concern before they become problems. All BLT personnel are required to refresh and update their understandings of these protocols before becoming an active member of a project team, and strictly adhere to it thereafter. This is the cornerstone of our efficiency.
We spend a tremendous level of effort on planning to reduce the probability of any unforeseen situations. At the same time, we also draw out the strategies we will use to mitigate any that does surface, as the fourth and final step in the ignition sequence. For each angle of mitigation, we outline a flow-loop to identify, report, assess, escalate, and address, then assign the appropriate team members to handle each step as the strategy calls for. Of course, we will always keep you up-to-date as we defuse the complications. Over the past decade, our failsafes have been tested time and time again, sometimes due to comically bizarre happenstances. But we are proud to say that not even once did it fail us and our clients. We intend to keep it that way.
It’s Go Time!
It’s showtime! With the team properly primed, we are ready to put the carefully crafted project gears into action. But the challenge is hardly over. Stay with us and see how we maintain project velocity, carrying your project safely to its target through calm and turbulence alike!