Healthy project collaboration demands continual effort and concentration. However, there are times during the lifecycle of the project where effective communication and collaboration become even more critical to success.
The following are five critical moments within a project’s lifecycle that depend on successful collaboration with stakeholders, teams, and executives, and what you need to do during these times.
1. Determining Project Goals and Requirements
It's vital to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page when project goals and requirements are being identified. This is the point where a project can either begin on the right foot and head toward success or set up the project for failure.
What You Need to Do: Any relevant stakeholders must collaborate closely on project goals and requirements, as well as clearly define assumptions and expectations. Project collaboration here is essential and will require careful and precise documentation, as every action taken from this point will build upon the foundation created here.
2. Establishing Roles and Responsibilities
It is essential for a project manager to carefully consider the best candidate for each role based on factors such as skill sets, knowledge, training, and availability. It’s common for an individual to be assigned to a project due to his or her tacit knowledge and skills, but not have enough time and focus for the project. As a result, projects may be delayed despite having great teams.
What You Need to Do: A project manager must be able to communicate with executives and sponsors to secure required resources, schedule resources accordingly, and minimize risk to the project as much as possible. It's also important that any assigned resources have a clear understanding of their time commitment to a project to ensure they meet expectations.
3. Managing Risks
Risks are a natural part of every project lifecycle, which means that every project should have a strong risk management strategy in place from the start. Problems arise when these risks are allowed to grow into issues that affect the timeline, quality, and cost of delivering a project.
What You Need to Do: Being able to identify the full extent and impact of each risk, as well as the best strategy to mitigate it, rests on how well stakeholders are able to collaborate and create solutions. Failure to prevent risks from negatively affecting a project often comes from teams not being fully engaged or committed to addressing risks. However, successful collaboration can result in accurate risk forecasting and the ability to quickly and effectively respond to risks as they arise.
4. Changing Scope
Any time project scope changes, there is a need for careful collaboration and documentation. When these changes occur, teams must collaborate well to ensure project work is executed properly and deliverables remain on target.
What You Need to Do: The project manager must identify, document, and share any scope changes with project sponsors, the customer, the project team and any other stakeholders impacted by the outcome. Communicating scope changes with these parties will keep the project moving forward and prevent misconceptions and budgeting issues.
5. Resolving Conflicts
Every project experiences conflict at some point in its lifecycle, but it does not need to negatively impact the process. Many projects have been needlessly and negatively impacted due to miscommunication or unreconciled opinions on project goals.
What You Need to Do: Conflict can be stressful for everyone involved, which makes it essential that project managers identify the root cause and work closely with all parties to find the best solution. Effective conflict resolution needs transparency, clarity, and direct communication to prevent risks that endanger project success.
Taking Project Collaboration to the Next Level
Making the most of these critical project collaboration moments is just the beginning of improving your collaboration strategy as a whole. Read our ebook, “How to Win at Collaboration,” and learn more about how to strengthen your business’ project collaboration.