10 Things on the Radar for Managing Project Interdependencies

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Interdependencies add complexity to decision-making. Oversight on their cross impacts could cause major setback to the outcomes. The following is a list of questions that need to be addressed.

1.       Linkages

  • What is the relationship between the projects under consideration?
  • Have you identified the specifics, the what, when, why, and how, for that relationship?

2.       Significance

  • What is the probable extent of the cross impacts?
  • Are you able to describe the impacts with sufficient details, in a manner that others could understand and appreciate the need to pay attention?

3.       Decision makers

  • Who are the key players you need to engage?
  • Have you done sufficient homework to prepare for a win/win discussion?

4.       Open dialogue

  • How well can you articulate the essential elements to get alignment?
  • Do you have the support and commitment to collaborate?

5.       Plan of attack

  • What are the options to facilitate smooth execution and minimize the cross impacts?
  • Have you addressed the critical elements that pose roadblocks?

6.       Risk and mitigation

  • Have thorough are you in identifying the risks associated with each option?
  • Are the risk mitigation strategies practical and effective?

7.       Best and worst scenarios

  • Do you know what the outcomes would be if things work out better or worse than anticipated?
  • What is the tolerance for the worst case scenario?

8.       Buffer

  • Where is the buffer with the project timeline or resources that you could leverage for either project?
  • Are there ways to manage the interdependent tasks to minimize the potential impacts?

9.       Backup plan

  • What is the probability that either project, or both, would come to a grinding halt due to unexpected issues?
  • What is your plan to deal with the potential causes?

10.   Support

  • Have you communicated the challenge with your project sponsors and others who have a key role in your plan of attack?
  • Can you count on these people for financial, manpower and other support?

In managing interdependencies, it is essential to define what you need to do with as much clarity and specificity as possible. Otherwise, you end up losing a lot of time in beating around the bush and not able to resolve issues in a timely manner.

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