Teatime discussion with a fellow friend from same industry raised the point about why projects see higher failures in terms of expectation and timeline. The critical demands from today’s projects were not the case before 5 years. Mobile applications have changed the definition of word ‘project’ in many terms.
Nowadays, everything is quick, everyone needs quick results, everywhere there is an opportunity and each part of the world is communicating with the remaining. With this level of globalization, it is really difficult to win a project, complete it, and mark it as successful.
Analysis of different situations and the projects I worked on helped me in narrowing down the factors to be considered for success of any project.
What You Will Learn:
A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there. — H. Stanely Judd
A good planner is an achiever. But when it comes to real-time planning, believe me, it’s not easy. You have to consider everything – Your strength and your weaknesses, team’s capabilities and tools availability, requirements and constraints, approach and obstacles.
Planning is not just about documenting details but about understanding and identifying objects and defining clear strategy or approach. Planning, most of the time, is being done at higher level and implemented at every level. Although involving proposed team members in planning can make a huge difference in overall success of the project.
Most of the time, we struggle to define coverage and exit criteria as these two are mostly dependent on timeline. Broad coverage makes the efforts endless and that is not practical too. Understanding client’s requirement and purpose to use the product can help in identifying coverage. With this, estimation about efforts should include proper buffer plus consideration of real time issues.
The art of communication is the language of leadership. — James Humes
Transparent communication is a key point for any project. Whether it’s client communication, internal team communication, communication with management or communication with third party, it plays an important part in success of the project.
Investing into communication improvements can be helpful forever, no matter at what level of project you are working. Communicating delays and conveying the concerns in right manner are the toughest jobs and good communication skills can help in achieving the same.
You must know all there is to know in your particular field and keep on the alert for new knowledge. The least difference in knowledge between you and another man may spell his success and your failure. — Henry Ford
This is by default the most important part of any project. No matter how good you plan and how best tools are available, if you do not have required skills in the team, nothing can work. Updating oneself with current trends is very important.
Also, single skill does not work for a lifetime. You have to adopt new things and you have to change or modify your skill set according to the current demands. Staying back with single domain knowledge and a number of years of experience does not matter in the current world, where everything is dynamic.
Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools, he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle
Specific tools can make your project timeline achievable. Only manual efforts do not work in the fast world of today. Even if that is the only option, it should be supported with scripting knowledge, reporting tools, bug tracking, and project management tools. With this, automation tools are popping up like anything and having knowledge about specific tools and ability to select right tool as per requirements is expected at every level of testing.
It’s not what you do, but the way you do it. — Anonymous
Without following proper processes, the project can’t succeed. As the project planning is an important factor to start, setting and following specific processes will help in completing the project successfully. No matter if you are following agile or waterfall methods, something should be there to measure and plan the efforts.
Project management can be defined as a way of developing structure in a complex project, where the independent variables of time, cost, resources and human behaviour come together. — Rory Burke
Project management is a job like walking on fire. Everyday challenges make it difficult to focus on long term goals. Also coordinating with team and client at the same time is definitely not an easy task. As a manager, your daily struggle to keep up with timelines, resource requirements, unavailability of required skills, pressure from the client, and many other things. Time and experience only can help in nurturing your management skills, although constant and conscious efforts are required for that.
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. — Michael Jordan
When working for a project, your personal ego has no importance. Teamwork can change anything and so the success of the project. Each and every team member is responsible for project success. Although it’s management’s responsibility to provide the healthy environment, personal attitude and positivity for the success of the project are also important.
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. — Jimmy Johnson
As most of the time, I have mentioned in my articles, everyone in the world wants something extra in response to the money they spend. A few efforts to provide something really useful or a little care to prevent some critical defects or help during non-working hours to overcome critical errors can certainly earn your client’s respect.
Concluding the article with a famous quote:
Every time you do a project, you learn something new. — Justin Timberlake
The list might not seem complete to you and readers are always welcomed to suggest their views and add opinions.
About the Author: Guest post by Bhumika Mehta, she is a project lead, carrying 7 years of software testing experience. She is totally in to testing and loves to test everything exists.
What other factors do you think are most important for QA project success?