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3 Tips To Handle Complex Projects Like A Pro

By Monika Muddamshetty
January 24, 2024

Today, organizations must strive for more than just successful project completion and customer satisfaction. Delivering projects based on what was agreed with customers in terms of requirements, time, cost, and quality is no longer enough. In today’s ever-changing market where customer needs evolve, projects need to deliver value and outcomes, and anything less is not useful enough.

Here are three tips to help you manage complex projects like a pro:

1) Embrace a Hybrid Delivery Approach

Many organizations nowadays adopt a hybrid delivery approach that combines traditional and Agile methods. This strategy enables them to take advantage of the benefits of both methods and offset their drawbacks, leading to better project outcomes while minimizing compromises.

To achieve the right balance between traditional and Agile methods, it is crucial to understand the “why” behind your project and the problem you’re trying to solve. This understanding will help you identify which elements to adopt from each approach and which ones to disregard. The ultimate goal of any project is to deliver value and outcomes. Therefore, it’s essential to prioritize tasks that offer the most value to both the customer and the organization.

To begin, you should identify the concerns with your current approach, prioritize urgent problems that can significantly enhance workflows if addressed, determine which aspects of your project require a Waterfall approach (such as fixed deliverables, deadlines, budgets, and constraints), and which aspects call for an Agile approach (such as requirements or resources that are not very clear or subject to change). From there, you can work your way to finding the right mix.

Continuously inspect and adapt, basis usage and feedback, to create a more sustainable approach.

2) Prioritize Power Skills

It is essential to prioritize power skills at the workplace alongside technical skills because these abilities and behaviours can set the context of “how people work together” to drive project success.

Regardless of the delivery approach used, the effectiveness of enabling project outcomes is highly dependent on power skills such as communication, collaborative leadership, problem-solving, strategic thinking, emotional intelligence, and more

According to the PMI Pulse of the Profession® 2023, 14th Edition, organizations that place a high priority on power skills experience more projects that meet their business goals, fewer projects that experience scope creep, and less budget loss in case of project failure. Such organizations also tend to have higher Benefits Realization Maturity (BRM) Maturity, Project Management (PM) Maturity, and Organizational Agility.

3) Invest in Continuous Learning

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023, technology will continue to drive business transformation, and 44% of workers’ jobs are expected to change in the next five years.

Additionally, a recent study by Gartner showed that over 100 million people will engage with synthetic virtual colleagues to contribute to enterprise work by 2026. Furthermore, AI solutions introduced to augment or autonomously deliver tasks, activities, or jobs, will result in over half a billion net new human jobs by 2033.

As technology and the workplace continue to evolve, some skills will become obsolete while new skills will be in demand. Therefore, individuals need to embrace the potential possibilities and invest in developing and cultivating the right skills, whether it be technology literacy or individual development, to prepare for the future of work.

To stay up to date with the latest trends and developments, people should explore different learning options that suit their needs, leverage the power of professional community and networking, and proactively seek both formal and informal learning opportunities.

Note: Personally, I’d recommend the Project Management Institute (PMI) membership as great place to start for project, program, and portfolio professionals – it opens a world of knowledge, networks and resources that can help keep up with the evolving needs of the profession. And the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification for project leaders to better understand predictive, agile and hybrid approaches, that can help them to work smarter be better equipped to achieve improved project outcomes.

It’s important to acknowledge that, to achieve better outcomes with maximum impact, the entire ecosystem must work together effectively. This not only includes working at the project level but also between projects, programs, and even at the portfolio level, including senior leadership.

Therefore, organizations must invest in building this ecosystem for value delivery, and help their people navigate this change. They should embrace smarter ways of working in terms of people, processes, tools, and technology, to enable impactful and sustainable outcomes, even in the face of dynamic customer needs and ever-changing market demand. This is the key to handle complex projects successfully.

Monika Muddamushetty is a seasoned leader in the delivery and Agile space, dealing with people and processes to deliver improved outcomes across projects, programs, and portfolios, along with driving transformation, process automation, and re-engineering initiatives. In her current role, she heads the Agile Centre of Excellence (CoE) driving the journey to Agile ways of working.

She has served as Director on the Board of PMIPCC (Project Management Institute Pearl City Hyderabad Chapter) for five years, and currently volunteers with the PMI South Asia Champions program and other activities across the region to give back to the project management community.

Monika is an engineer by education. Her professional certifications include Project Management Professional (PMP®), Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®), Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master (DASSM®), SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC), and Lean Six Sigma – Green belt amongst others.

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Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Institute for Learning or any entities they represent.

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