Reasons Why Projects Fail. Part 2

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This is our second post where we talking about the most often causes of stress and frustration during the projects.

Recently, I’ve been telling about managers who don’t consider if the project is engaging for the team. Now you know that performers are different and projects should be matched regarding their skills and preferences. Today, I will tell you more about the process. Processes are about organizing company work and suppress the chaos while running a project. So, what would happen if they were absent? Let’s figure it out.

What are those “processes”?

I will explain it in our example. Here at Unikorns, to make the process of website creation easier, we split our workflow into four phases: preparation, design phase, development phase, handover phase. Each phase has specific action items inside. Those action items systematize our flow and make it unified for each team. For example, we have our website design and branding processes that explain each step in a quite detailed way, so each team will make the same actions doing websites or branding.

We also have specific processes that explain work with clients, our project management, and documentation writing. It all helps us not to get lost in the chaos of an employee’s personal way of task execution.

The importance of business processes

Imagine a ship. And let it be a small one, with a crew of about…10 mates. The crew actions before and after the ship set sails might run in two different ways:

  1. Crew sails away without any processes and preparation. You can call it the “Chaos model”.
  2. Crew sails away with an initial trip plan and fixed action methods during the trip. You can call it the “Responsible model”.

To make sure that the ship set sails properly, the crew needs to have a preparation process. And if these guys don’t want to go down after it sails away, they need to know how to handle the ship during the trip. It follows that they need those processes. They have to define each step precisely and understand all dependencies to avoid chaos. If their ship will hit in the storm and they know what their action items are, a chance to survive will be higher.

Business doesn’t have processes?

In the IT industry more often you would stumble upon the “Chaos model” than the “Responsible model”. Why’s that? Well, hard to tell, but I can assume a few cases just to satisfy your curiosity:

  1. Fresh entrepreneurs might have some kind of romanticism under the wave of rapidly evolving IT business trends and don’t actually know much about the best practices in business running;
  2. Entrepreneurs might want to have a lot of money with the least effort 'cause processes creation is complicated and requires a lot of thinking and analyzing;
  3. Or entrepreneurs start businesses without any preparation and limits regarding staff speed expansion.

What should you expect, if you will work with a studio that uses the “Chaos model”? Expect migraines and stress. Be ready to have communication issues, overdue dates, unexpected decisions you would not be aware of, and bad work quality. The absence of real processes means for the client something like:

Graphic image that represents you know nothing Jon Snow

You will never know for sure what's going on with your project.

Outstaffing hiring model

If you think that everything I’ve written above is only about the client, you might be surprised. Read it all again but from the designers' or developers' perspective, it would sound terrible anyway. Processes are related to everyone - employees and clients. The Outstaffing model of work is popular, and if you think that this model has unified processes, you might be surprised again. From the client’s perspective, it might be okay. But for employees… it’s just another jump into the unknown.

The conclusion

At first glance, you never know which company has those processes and which one doesn’t. I’ve met companies where processes are described very well, but from the inside, it was just another “Chaos model”. Having those processes is great for the business image, for sure. But if there are no real processes, is it fine from the ethical point of view toward people? Not exactly.

Solution for a client: Ask questions about processes. A lot of questions. Via email, during onboarding and kick-off. Don’t be afraid of being annoying with questions 'cause your business success and emotional homeostasis are on the table.

Solution for an employee: The same advice as for a client. But this time, not business is in the game, but your health.

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