...AND THIER TERRIBLE SOLUTIONS
Not that long ago I interviewed a number of project managers to uncover their top pain-points when working on web projects. After collating the results, it turns out the top 4 most common challenges include;
- Getting feedback from clients/stakeholders, that is easy to understand and track.
- Getting agreement or decisions, and keeping a history.
- Sharing progress or preparing for demos.
- Stuck in Wagile (Waterfall/Agile hybrid) – the tech team have migrated but the business has not.
Challenges #1, 2 & 3
The work-arounds for 1, 2 & 3 were surprisingly old, slow and low tech. (I’ll come back to number 4 in a minute).
In no particular order they included:
- Chase and escalate
- Create forms that submit tickets
- Put everything in a spreadsheet
- Paste all the notes in to task management apps (Jira, Trello etc)
- Back and forth on hundreds of emails
- Everyone in a meeting
- Screenshots on email
- One on one meetings
I plotted each of these to compare their pros and cons.
As you can see, no one solution achieves all the objectives.
So often a mix of these are employed. The most common seem to be email, spreadsheets and everyone-in-a-meeting.
The challenge for tech teams (usually project managers) is; using multiple methods means lots of chasing, coordinating and organising. Some people think that just comes with being a project manager. Problem is, it still causes pain in the organisation.
The pain is often felt in one of two places.
If the environment/culture is “…that’s just how long it takes” (eg. everyone-in-a-room has high collaboration but often takes weeks to setup) then the ‘pain’ is at company level. Projects cost more, speed to market is reduced, and competitive risk is increased.
If the environment/culture pushes for fast delivery with fixed deadlines, then the pain is usually felt by the tech team. They employ a splatter gun of methods and do whatever it takes to deliver on time. This increases risk of implementation gap (what is delivered vs. what is needed) and reduces innovation – just get it done!
Challenge #4 – stuck in Wagile
The problem here is really just a more extreme version of the challenges above – all essentially under the same heading of ‘stakeholder engagement’. Instead of swapping heavy-upfront engagement for shorter-but-more-frequent engagement (what Agile is meant to do); the business has misinterpreted Agile to mean they can engage as little as they like and change things whenever they fancy.
Where this challenge exists eventually the tech team gets burnt (for not delivering on time or on scope – due to lack of engagement). So they adopt agile practices for tech teams (eg sprints) while reverting to heavy documentation upfront and UAT on the back.
So what’s the solution?
We’re working to put Sifta right in the middle of the diagram. Will it solve every problem experienced by project teams? Probably not – at least not in all situations – but we’re passionate solving as much as we can!
The tool is in early stages, currently looking for people who have these pain points and are keen to do something about it.
If you do have any of these challenges, we’d love to setup a demo so you can decide whether Sifta will help.
Wishing you peace, love and efficient projects.