It's hard enough getting clear deliverables
in a project, keeping them that way is just like herding cats.
If the project lasts long enough, you can
bet the deliverables for the project will be modified. Here are 3 common things
that will affect the deliverables:
- Adding a feature to the product
- Changing requirements
- Adding another stakeholder
There are always great ideas to be had,
once everything is decided and the developers are scheduled to the minute. One
can't stifle creativity, and great ideas deserve to be taken into
consideration. However, one must carefully weigh the impact the new feature
will have on three factors:
- How much more sales this feature will bring
- How much time will the feature take to develop
- How the new feature will affect everything else in the product
If the cost of adding the feature (the time
and complexity added to the project) is higher than is impact on revenue, it
would be a good idea to understand better why the feature must be added. Even
more so if the project schedule is already tight and the delivery date cannot
be moved. Unless your team has a time machine or a crystal ball, this could
spell disaster for your product and project.
Just like features, requirements tend to be
modified along the way by changing needs. Instead of great ideas, the situation
is more of the we-didn't-think-of-this type.
First of all, if your organization makes a
habit of we-didn't-think-of-this, project managers should make a point of being
extra careful with requirements documents. Adding an operating system to a
software requirements documents, for example, can seriously impact the project.
Just like new features, before accepting
the new requirement, it's imperative that one evaluates the cost VS benefit
brought by this requirement.
New stakeholders carry the highest risk on
your project deliverable and the project itself. Every person has their own way
of doing things, and they will want their opinions and methods to be included
in the process. The only problem being, the process is already under way.
Instead of trying to shove the new guy
aside, it's worth the time to explore what they bring to the table. They would
not be added to the project for now reason (or so one would hope). By being open to the stakeholder, you may be
able to reconcile the methods already in place with his methods, or at least
negotiate an compromise that gives your project a chance of success.
Being open is hard
When things are started, it's hard to
change course. No one likes to reevaluate decisions that have already been
made. But the reality is, life changes all the time. If there is one thing you
can be sure about your project, it's that something new will pop: new
requirements, new features, new people, new deliverables altogether.
If you are open to this possibility, you
may find inspiration and motivation in tackling these changes in your projects.