Successful project delivery is based on getting the delivery process engine as finely tuned as possible. A smooth project delivery process ensures that you’re performing at your peak and are delivering to your clients with the highest standards of executional excellence.
Although it is not a very easy task; considering the multiple parts, processes and people invested; it is imperative for SMB to always stay one step ahead of the game. Therefore, it becomes necessary to get an insight into the outsourcing partner’s delivery processes and mechanisms as well.
In this blog, we enlist the 6 crucial steps that an ideal outsourcing partner should perform to tighten up the project management delivery process.
Step 1 - Ensure smooth on-boarding
The beginning of a project is often a crucial time to set up the project for success. Yet, several companies overlook this phase as they eye the final product and the impending deadlines. However, an ideal outsourcing partner not only recognizes the importance of the planning phase but also has tools that result in efficient planning. Although there are several technical aspects that need to be taken care of at the beginning, there are also a few basic factors that you must imbibe in order to smoothen out the creases that may appear somewhere down the line.
For example: A checklist from Sales-to-Delivery that includes key and detailed parameters such as the time preferred by customers for discussions during project execution, names of the key stakeholders who would be involved in the project, client’s preferred mode of communication. This detailed checklist thereby results in very effective project kick-off meetings.
Step 2 - Clearly define expectations
For an outsourcing company, the ultimate success is satisfying the expectations of the key stakeholder of the project. However, if the expectations are not clearly conveyed to the project team, the end result may be far away from success.
This step involves defining the parameters of success clearly. This can be done by answering 3 major questions –
- What is the purpose of the project?
- How can it be measured?
- What need should the project and all of its features and components satisfy?
Working with all the relevant stakeholders to address these questions will build way for a successful project delivery.
For obvious reasons, it is necessary to employ the right skillsets in order to get the job done successfully. Careful resource matching plays a crucial role in this. Resource matching can be done by creating a skills matrix that helps in identifying the skills and experience that this project will require and identify any gaps, and mitigate with training, or outsourcing to experts or extending your team with virtual employees.
In addition, to get the best quality output from the resources, it is necessary to employ agile and focused employee engagement practices.
For example: Implementation of an EWS (Early Warning System) for each employee where each manager keeps a track of their team members and updates their thoughts on the team member’s connection with the organization in an EWS tracker. Based on their interactions they update the RAG (Red/Amber/Green) status of each team member. If an employee’s RAG status moves out of green, it is necessary to proactively work with the team member and resolve any looming challenges. This ensures that all the team members are engaged and are happy and keen to deliver the value that is promised.
Step 4 - Plan effective kick-off meetings
To get the most out of kick-off meetings, they should be done in 2 stages – external and internal. In the first stage, the kickoff meeting should include all the relevant stakeholders within the organization as well the outsourcing partner’s end. In the second stage, the outsourcing company should have an internal kick-off meeting with their internal stakeholders including passive stakeholders such as recruitment, finance and marketing teams.
These meetings ensure that everyone in sync on the project execution and also equips the stakeholders with information to plan for a robust risk mitigation exercise on any foreseeable uncertainty as well.
Step 5 - Choose the right tools for project management & tracking
It is practically impossible to keep a track of all the conversations, decisions, status updates, sprints, milestones, tasks, budgets and deadlines without help from technology. An ideal outsourcing partner should stay organized by making use of some excellent project management software solutions available in the market. In addition, an agile outsourcing partner would further effectuate the project delivery, by ensuring extensive collaboration between various stakeholders of the project using collaboration tools such as Slack, Skype, Hangout, Github, Chatter, Asana, etc. This cuts down the time required to quickly resolve technical challenges that may crop up during execution. Plus, agile project management tools such as Jira, MS projects, Asana, Basecamp, etc. further enable efficient collaboration and communication.
This can also be done through a systematic process of evaluation with tools such as the bi-weekly project health checks. During these project health checks, the technical leadership team reviews each project on various parameters along with the Service Delivery Manager who in turn does this review with project teams led by the Project Manager.
This process is carried out on a bi-weekly basis to synchronize it with our two weeks’ Agile - sprint delivery framework. This enables everyone involved to be completely aware of the progress on each project and can proactively arrive at mitigation or avoidance plans should they foresee any risk or challenges.
Seamless communication is one of the strong pillars that is responsible for the success of a project. Especially in situations where you and your team don't share the same physical space, there needs to be an effective communication channel in place.
Ideal outsourcing companies imbibe a culture of transparent communication and innovation which is maintained through mechanisms such as time-sheets, blogs and standard checklists.
These 6 steps not only mitigate risks and improve project delivery but help you save time, save money, increase revenue. Insisting on an insight into the project delivery processes of your outsourcing partner and checking for these 6 steps will help you achieve your goals in a systematic way.