How to Piggyback Projects Without Getting Slaughtered

If you work in a large enough IT organization, you’ll eventually need to manage your project alongside other projects of similar scope.  As you start working through the initial planning stages, reach out to management and other PMs to understand what other projects are running and start identifying commonalities.

Here are some quick guidelines to help manage your efforts.

1) Assess Project Overlaps

Work with other PMs and BAs in the organization to find out if there are any overlaps in projects. You may not be able to do this prior to any true business requirements, and maybe functional requirements being developed as well, but it will start the ball rolling sooner rather than later. Whether the conversations happen informally, or in a PM team meeting, be proactive and get them going.

2) Eye Potential Obstacles

Whether they are dependencies or risks, look at the systems you may be impacting and understand any requirements, systems issues and other release dates that may affect your plans up front. If there’s change over the course of events, these will typically be fluid items.

3) Size Up Resources

Know your resources and their allocations. Sometimes you can be lucky enough to have dedicated resources, but I rarely find this to be the norm. It’s more likely you’ll be sharing resources among teams. Do your best to define the projects’ needs and identify the resources you’d like. You’ll also need to be aware how those resources are being allocated on other work, as it can have a direct impact on what you’re trying to achieve.

4) Scoping Out Project Scope

Once you know your scope, connect with other teams and start working together. Find out whether it makes sense for one project to bear the weight of specific scope items and not others. Sometimes the biggest factor is timing. The team set to deploy to production first, may be the team/project to own the actual development of the scope item. The other projects may just leverage that code or integrate with that project at another appropriate time. The scope item will impact multiple things and must be considered up front to ensure maximum efficiency.

5) Warm Up Ready Made Code

Reusable code is typically managed by the Tech Lead but it’s something for the PM to be aware of too. You may have code that’s common, or something else you can reuse to help alleviate time and cost. It’s not as significant an issue for the PM, but the Tech Leads should be working with the IT team on a global level to affect the best possible outcome.

6) Timing is Everything

Production releases are a good thing for all projects. Do you have standard production release schedule, or can your project go live whenever you want?  Be aware how other projects that are to be released in combination with yours may have a serious impact on your release.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the necessity of merging projects. What other things do you consider when managing intersecting points?

Image: Pigs by Bigstock

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