There are many different factors that constitute successful project delivery. These can range from overall Client satisfaction, a high-quality final solution, budgetary and time constraints being met, and so on. Juggling and managing all these different dynamics can be challenging; project teams often fall short in one or more of these areas.
Using the above success factors as pillars embedded into our approach and ways of working - Spinning Fox has developed and refined a delivery framework to ensure that the success metrics are a focal point for the team and we have built an environment which facilitates these practices.
In the list below, you will find our 5 ways to help ensure projects are delivered successfully:
1. Establishing KPIs
It’s important that from the outset of a project, there is a mutual understanding and agreement between the Client and project team in regard to what success actually looks like. Establishing this from the earliest possible stage within the project lifecycle means that there is complete alignment in terms of what the project needs to achieve - but it also means that there's been an element of thought and consideration surrounding the effectiveness of what will eventually be delivered.
This is important as it not only increases accountability but also increases the chances of the project providing a real-world impact.
Depending on the nature of the project, there may not always be quantitative KPIs that can be established. For example, a project which focuses on Design rather than the delivery of a piece of software may be quite difficult to establish conventional KPIs. However, there is still an opportunity to agree and discuss ‘success’.
Once KPIs have been established, it’s important to make sure that they’re not forgotten about. During the solutionising process, KPIs should be used as a reference to ensure that what’s being created will maximise the effectiveness of the end product and in turn, increase the chances of the KPIs being met.
2. Commercial transparency
Talking about money can sometimes make people feel uncomfortable, or perhaps there are cultural reasons why speaking about money may feel impolite. Spinning Fox has used a transparent approach when it comes to project commercials with great success. In order to provide commercial transparency to Clients, there need to be the correct commercial structures in place to track things such as planned spending, current spend and forecasts based on the current burn of a project. Once these measures are in place, providing visibility on these to Clients can help form the basis of a healthy relationship when it comes to discussing the finances of a project.
There are many different advantages gained to providing visibility on the project commercials, here’s a list of some of the key benefits:
- An appreciation and understanding of the effort required for features/functionality
- Commercially-driven decisions can be made when it comes to de-scoping or de-prioritising
- An additional way to track the current project progress vs work still to be done
- Helps to ensure that billable time (meetings, workshops) between the Client and project team is focused and efficient
- Enables Client Stakeholders to have an extra level of detail when it comes to their own internal reporting and management of their Stakeholders
3. 'Feedback' culture
When it comes to cultivating and encouraging a ‘feedback’ culture, it’s important that the team are aware that feedback is given to ultimately improve the way we do things / improve our output. Having a culture that encourages constructive feedback will have wide-ranging benefits and will often provide a useful, different perspective or consideration that may have been overlooked.
Fostering an environment that encourages ‘feedback’ is crucial when it comes to delivering projects successfully, so it’s key, that time for enabling feedback is factored into project planning. It’s equally as essential to make sure that there are some designated steps within a project where constructive feedback can be provided for both internal and Client purposes.
Below are some of the steps that Spinning Fox finds most useful:
Sprint Retrospectives & end of project Retrospectives
- Running project team Retrospectives at the end of each sprint cycle is a great opportunity to reflect on what’s working well and what perhaps needs to be tweaked for the upcoming sprint. This enables there to be a regular refinement to processes and/or ways of working which in turn will benefit the team’s efficiency and help maintain or improve the level of output.
- End of project Retrospectives are also useful to reflect on the project as a whole, discussing what went well, what could be improved and what should be introduced for next time.
Work-in-progress showcases & feedback loops
- Spinning Fox conducts showcases of the work-in-progress to Clients at different stages throughout the project. These are extremely useful as it enables Clients to see tangible work, rather than a big unveiling towards the end of the project.
- Having frequent showcases followed by a period of time where the Client can provide feedback has proven to be a much swifter way to obtain an eventual sign-off or approval of a deliverable or feature.
Client satisfaction surveys
- This is a really useful way of obtaining feedback directly from the Client. Spinning Fox tends to circulate these at ~80% project complete range, as this means that the Client has worked with the team for long enough and should be able to provide some invaluable feedback.
4. Adding value
One of Spinning Fox’s core business values is to constantly be assessing whether ‘value’ is being added - whether that be in the form of deliverables, a solution or even using our expertise to provide useful insights to Clients.
Validation of ideas and concepts is an important step to ensuring that projects are given the best chance to be effective within the real world, whilst also helping to make sure that solutions that are being proposed are achievable within the constraints of the project. There are different forms of validation which serve different purposes and using a combination of these different techniques can ensure that the project is heading in the right direction.
Internal technical validation
- Spinning Fox uses this measure to ensure that any concepts have been reviewed and approved by our in-house technical team. This technique is predominantly used to make sure that when it comes to building what’s being proposed, we have already checked that it's feasible in terms of technology, budget and time. It’s a lot more cost-effective to make changes to a solution at the concept stage, rather than making changes to the solution once engineering work has started.
- Introducing this measure helps to control the scope of the project and means that there will be ‘no surprises for the Client later on down the line.
- User testing is important because the people building the project may not always be the user-group that the eventual product is for. So if budget allows, user testing is highly recommended as it provides an opportunity for us to observe how real users would interact with what’s being created.
- Usually, the output from user-testing contains a wide range of feedback which can either be can be incorporated into an amended version of the concept, or added to a product backlog to perhaps use for later iterations of the product.
Leveraging internal resources
- Spinning Fox often finds it useful to present concepts internally to members of the business who aren’t involved in the project team. This can be extremely useful as it enables highly-skilled individuals to look at what’s being proposed in a more objective manner.
- Conducting these sessions often results in some useful feedback which can be used to tweak what’s being worked on and adds another level of validation due to the fact that what’s being presented will be probed and discussed before it’s eventually complete.