If you think IT projects are over budget and behind schedule, take a look at construction projects. Only about 30 percent of construction projects are completed within budget and on time. Whether focusing on IT, construction, or other government projects, following these three steps can help you and your customer achieve better outcomes, on time and on budget.
- Manage Contract Scope: Managing risk starts early in the construction or IT project lifecycle-; often during the pre-planning phase. Construction contracts often make use of an auditor, but the auditor here is closer to an independent project manager and not what most IT companies would consider as a contracts auditor. An experienced construction auditor or independent manager can play a vital role in risk avoidance. To avoid unanticipated cost overruns and adversarial situations, it is important to leverage an experienced construction auditor or independent program manager to provide peace of mind.
- Change Order Management: In both examples, change orders represent the single largest financial risk on any construction or IT project. They can increase project scope or modify originally agreed upon terms. Project managers can have a different view of change orders because of their proximity to day-to-day operations. Remember, a government contracting officer must sign off on any scope or other change before any new work is done. A construction auditor or third-party manager can help the project team evaluate and proactively assess change order risk, before seeking a change from the contracting officer. This can save time and money.
- Roles, Responsibilities and Expectations: Both construction and IT projects have multiple players. While the roles look separate and distinct on paper, the reality is that people on the ground can sometimes take on the appearance or responsibilities of other team members. While this can ensure that things get done in the short-term, they can ultimately lead to confusion or project changes that were never officially approved by the right person. It is vital to maintain separate and specific roles and responsibilities and set clear expectations for each team member. A strong team lead is an important part of this process to ensure that one senior person is responsible for ensuring that each team member is following through appropriately.