Zircon’s Project Management Challenge

Here at Zircon, we have adopted the concept of continuous improvement across all aspects of the business. Having identified shortcomings in our approach to project management, we undertook the challenge of developing and implementing an improvement plan.

Historically we have decided against adopting a singular approach to project management, allowing our client’s situation to dictate the process for their project. Our supposed need for flexibility predominantly stemmed from the business environment we found ourselves a part of. We could find ourselves working on any type of development projects, some suiting one approach and others another. Including:

  • Safety-critical systems that require rigorous specification upfront to allow for traceability.
  • Machine learning applications and feasibility studies that benefit from more iterative approaches to grow and manifest over time.
  • Other projects where we offer consultancy for a specific skill or development phase, that can vary depending on the needs of our client.

Attempting to meet all of the different project criteria with a single approach would be no simple task, but we understood that something had to change. Trying to maintain such a fluid approach has given rise to many avoidable headaches, such as project delays and introducing inconsistencies with the internal measurement of progress.

We made it our mission to develop a consistent and repeatable, one size fits all, yet flexible, project management process that we could train our staff to understand and adhere to whatever project they worked on. To achieve this ambition, we would need to adjust our business perspective away from the traditional milestone and timeline, waterfall mindset, and adopt more of an agile approach, delivering value as soon as possible. We wanted to see whether we could adopt more of the best practices of the agile approach, whilst still retaining the critical elements of the more traditional waterfall approach that our business environment still demanded.

Next week we will go into more detail on how we were able to overcome the challenges that our business environment and perspective presented, to find the best solution for us.

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