Project management is a critical process often overlooked or undervalued in many organizations. At Savannah Informatics Limited, we prioritize project management as a critical process to ensure success.
In my experience, I have learned that managing a project can be a challenging task, but with the right tools, teams, and principles, you can ensure its success. At Savannah, we have successfully built products such as Slade360, and Be.Well by Slade360, Slade Advantage, Claims Advance, MyCare Hub, Payer Portal, Fafanuka, etc. by applying the principles of project management.
Here are some key factors that have contributed to our success:
1. Prioritization of tasks and optimization of resources through a well-defined scope
During the development of Be.Well by Slade360, our team encountered several challenges that hindered our progress. We discovered that a major contributing factor was the absence of a well-defined project scope, which resulted in a lack of focus, unclear objectives, and budget overruns. As a result, we encountered issues such as executing non-priority tasks, allocating excessive manpower to areas that required less effort, and utilizing resources without effectively tracking outcomes, which incurred significant costs for the company.
To address these challenges and regain control over the project, we embarked on a process of breaking down the scope of tasks and determining the necessary capacity for each. By doing so, we were able to identify the project's goals, establish clear priorities, define deliverables, and set realistic timelines. This approach allowed us to break down the project into smaller, manageable tasks, and allocate appropriate budgets to ensure efficient resource allocation. Furthermore, it enabled us to develop a comprehensive project plan that aligned with the expectations of both our customers and stakeholders.
Through this focused approach to scope definition, we were able to overcome the challenges we faced and regain control over the project's trajectory. The process not only facilitated better task execution but also optimized the allocation of manpower and resources, resulting in improved project outcomes and cost savings for the company.
2. Having a plan and not wishing for things to just happen
At Savannah Informatics Limited, we understand the significance of having a well-defined plan to turn goals into successful outcomes. We believe in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's quote, which emphasizes the importance of having a plan rather than just wishing for things to happen. In our project management approach, we employ various tools and techniques to ensure effective planning and execution. To begin with, we consider the following key aspects while creating a project plan:
The resources required; manpower, time, information, equipment, and tools
The schedule; project, work breakdown structure (WBS), cost, milestone, Gantt chart, etc
The budget; overhead, communication, travel, personnel, equipment and material, contingency, etc
To track and monitor project progress, we rely on popular project management tools such as Jira, Trello, and Confluence.
3. Communicating with Stakeholders
Communication is key to successful project management. Regular updates help keep everyone on the same page, minimize surprises, and mitigate risks. Throughout my time in Savannah Informatics, I have come to learn that communication with all the teams reduces the amount of time taken to finalize a project. We use shared platforms like Hubspot, Freshdesk, Gitlab, and internally built Comms.
Before launching one of our products Fafanuka, a patient engagement platform that leverages USSD to educate people living with NCDs, we experienced an unforeseen challenge hours before the launch. This unexpected hurdle could have potentially derailed our entire project timeline if not addressed promptly and effectively.
By swiftly and effectively communicating with all relevant teams and stakeholders, we were able to navigate through the unforeseen challenge and successfully launch Fafanuka. This experience reinforced the significance of transparent communication, enabling us to minimize surprises, manage risks, and maintain strong relationships with our stakeholders.
4. Mitigating Project Risks for Successful Outcomes
Every project comes with risks, but you can minimize their impact by identifying and managing them early on. Create a risk management plan that outlines potential risks and how you plan to mitigate them. This will help you be proactive in addressing any issues that may arise.
5. Leveraging analytics to empower Informed Decision-Making through Real-time Project Monitoring
Monitoring progress is essential to successful project management. You should regularly review the project plan and make adjustments as necessary.
We use Quintus, our business intelligence platform to track key performance indicators and gain visibility on business processes. Our analytics platform equips us with monitoring capabilities that ensure we make informed business decisions.
6. Change Management and Proper Documentation:
Projects can change over time, so it's important to have a plan in place for managing change. You should document changes and communicate them to stakeholders. Be sure to assess the impact of any changes on the project plan and adjust it as necessary.
Staff join and leave teams all the time, this leaves a gap in terms of progress, backlogs, and learnings. For a proper handover, we make sure that proper documentation is done and shared with the teams.
7. Celebrating Success
Finally, DON’T forget to celebrate your successes! When a project is completed successfully, take time to acknowledge the hard work of everyone involved and the work put in place to the success. This helps build morale and encourage team members to continue doing their best work and encourage other teams to raise to the same standards.
Project management is essential for the success of any organization. It helps organizations plan and organize projects efficiently, manage resources effectively, mitigate potential risks, ensure high-quality deliverables, and foster communication and collaboration between team members and stakeholders. By implementing effective project management practices, organizations can increase their chances of delivering successful projects that meet stakeholders' expectations and return on investment in the shortest time possible.
If significant changes occur during the project that will affect the success, the project manager should update the plan and communicate the changes to stakeholders on time to avoid overextended project creep.