Recently the Progrexion team has taken on an enormously complex project called: Automated Forecasting and Invoicing in the Business Management System. This project is unique because it involves many departments across the company, and the nature of the logic that is being built is extremely intricate. Projects between our marketing team and IT team, our marketing team and creative team, etc. are fairly common. But this project has involved our marketing, IT, creative, and accounting teams! Wow. It’s not often so many departments collaborate together through the inception, build out and launch of a project.
As I’ve participated in this cross-functional project, I have learned a lot about working on a project of this magnitude. Here are some tips as you jump into projects that require teamwork between many departments:
1. Set a timeline and attempt to stick to it.
In scoping a project of this size it’s best to set a realistic timeline. Most users usually want their projects done two weeks ago but in reality that’s just not going to happen. Make sure to set a timeline that is reasonable for all parties involved and plan for the usual bumps that will happen along the way. As you build out your timeline, allow space for thorough scoping and planning to ensure the project is on the road to success before the changes are in progress.
2. Feedback is always best.
Receive feedback from all parties involved on what their expectations for the project will be and make sure everyone is expecting the same outcome. In doing so you will know exactly what the conditions of satisfaction are and how they can be met.
3. Test. Test. Test.
Don’t be afraid to test and improve the project. Thorough user testing uncovers bugs and errors that may be hard to identify on the surface. Users can test all of the ins and outs of the new feature, and find scenarios that might not have been identified up front. Don’t let the feedback of what’s not working hinder the progress. Constructive criticism is absolutely necessary for a project to succeed, instead of team members remaining silent about concerns that can/should be resolved.
4. Make sure all of the bugs are worked out before you go live.
Don’t be afraid to push the official launch date back if necessary. Making sure everything works the right way before launching will reinforce the integrity and quality of work from the project team. We’ve all seen what happens when products get rushed out before they are ready (cough cough – Apple Maps) so don’t be afraid to push things back to make sure the quality is there.
A big project can be exciting, but is always accompanied with stress and responsibility. Don’t be afraid to tackle cross functional projects and with these steps outlined above.