Today’s web projects are quite different from the projects of decades ago. Mostly due to the internet and cloud-based software, the way we handle our projects has seen a revolution. Project requirements can change daily, and teams are expected to deal with situations as they arise. Stakeholders are asking to get more involved with the process, which means that they can change their mind at any time. Teams have to shift gears to respond accordingly.
Traditional project management is not geared to handle the new era of projects. The step by step style, set in stone timelines, and strict requirements have a hard time adapting to the need for change partway through a project. Today’s projects are often better suited for extreme project management.
XPM is meant to help you manage the unknown — those variables that change and pop up as a project progresses. At the end of your project, it’s about delivering the expected result, not simply the originally planned result. Those people who realize halfway through a project that the original product isn’t ideal have the leeway to modify the plan. Teams must be willing to make multiple attempts to get it right, instead of simply focusing on completing everything after the first attempt.
Is extreme project management right for your project?
Here are some common characteristics of extreme projects:
- Fast-paced work and delivery cycles
- Complex project requirements and outcomes
- Frequent changes to the plan as the project progresses
- Trial-and-error approach to find out what works
- Self-correcting process when things go awry to get back on track
- A step away from hierarchy in decision making
- People-driven projects, instead of process-driven
How to Execute Extreme Project Management
Extreme project management is meant to be fast. Start by gathering a team of people willing and ready to work with this method. If your team members rather go for slow work and getting every decision approved by upper management, it won’t work.
After assembling your star team, do this:
Create a project pilot plan expecting change, timelines may change, so you must think about leaving room for error.
Make sure your plan answers all of these questions —Who needs what, and why? —What will it take to do it? —Can we get what it takes to finish? —Is it worth it?
Schedule work in short cycles — a few weeks at max.
Have a kick-off meeting to give everyone the full scope of the work, and get people excited. Communicate expectations. Make project visibility a priority.
Talk with your client often, listen closely to their input, and act on feedback immediately.
Follow up work cycles with check-ins, review sessions, and re-alignment meetings if the project seems to be getting off-track.
When projects or cycles finish, celebrate every win. Do not overload your to-do’s so you can complete the project and Cut out extra steps.
If you identified with the challenges of traditional project management or the characteristics of extreme projects, consider reading more about XPM for your team.