I thought I would kick off this blog with a confession. I often stay to watch the credits at the end of a film. Sometimes it’s to see the outtakes (often quite amusing…), other times to see the effort that went into the production. Some of those job titles are very creative (e.g., regarding the role titled ‘Best Boy,’ well, what about Best Girl??). After recently watching the credits role in Avatar, I was curious about steps they took to manage project dependencies, in particular given the multitude of production teams.
Thinking about your current project, consider the project dependencies that might cause delays in meeting key milestones. You probably have seen some of these dependencies in your travels. Some are predictable, some take up the time of your limited resources, some lead to scope creep on your project, and others surface during your project out of the blue.
Returning to the Avatar film for a moment, there’s an interesting scene when the main character faces a ‘right of passage’ task. Let’s refer to this mission as his project (and no, I will not give anything away). His task? To ‘bond’ with a flying bird. His ‘sponsor’ informs him just before boarding the bird that he will know he has found the right bird to fly, as this is the one that will first try to kill him. His facial expression says it all. Who could have anticipated this? And not to mention this all took place a top a mountain floating in mid-air? One wrong move, and ……you get the idea. I suspect your project dependencies may be more predictable. Maybe.
When was the last time you evaluated your project’s dependencies and assessed their risk to your project? Consider the following questions -
· How will delays on other projects/initiatives impact your project plan and workload of your resources?
· Has your project board weighed in on the impact of these dependencies?
· Have you introduced sufficient contingency within the project plan?
· Have you considered new dependencies that have surfaced since your project launch, and factored them into the project plan?
Project methodologies introduce tools to track issues and risks, but how frequently do you monitor project dependencies and assess their impact? These risks may not be as choppy as those found when boarding a flying bird for a ride to prove your worth (maybe…), but consider best practices to minimize the turbulence. Define concrete steps to bring them to conclusion, move them forward at each opportunity and monitor throughout the project.