Project Management Professional (PMP)® Articles - Six Tips for Preventing Project Fragmentation

Six Tips for Preventing Project Fragmentation

There has been an all-out mission in workplace culture to address the problem of project fragmentation and silos. With the introduction of new project management tools that promote collaboration and physical workplace changes—like open workspaces—there is a concerted effort to prevent data and workflow fragmentation.

Nevertheless, project teams are still struggling to get out of the silo mindset. According to PMI, poor communication is a contributing factor in 56 percent of projects that failed. This situation is likely due in part to the issue of project silos—and the division of information. Like most things, you have to create a plan and strategy to prevent this situation in your company.

However, with so many moving parts, how can you intentionally create a process to avoid the issues associated with data and workflow gaps? Below are some tips you can use to keep your team from becoming a victim of project fragmentation.

Determine Where the Fragmentations Are Happening

It's hard to fix the problem of fragmentation if you don't know where silos are happening. Therefore, it’s essential to start looking at where the breakdowns are occurring. You may discover that a lapse in data collection or the absence of sound collaboration practices is responsible for fragmentation. Whatever the situation, you need to make a point to find it before you can create a plan to tackle it.

Additionally, it helps to always talk with your team about the fragmentation issues they are noticing. Whether through surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one meetings, it will help to get a broad overview of your fragmentation issues so that you can address them thoroughly.

Keep a Log of Fragmentation Issues

So, you've determined where the problems are. Great! Now, it's time to do some data collection. The next step is to create a "fragmentation database." You want to keep track of all past and current instances of project fragmentation.

The data could be kept in a sophisticated database or something as simple as a spreadsheet. You want to log what the situation is, how it occurred, when it happened, and those who were involved. This log of fragmentation incidents enables you to begin to see patterns and where these problems are happening the most. The more you can see what is happening in data or workflow fragmentation, the easier it will be to create strategies to prevent these issues.

Get Rid of the "This Is The Way We've Always Done It" Mentality

To overcome the issues of silos and fragmentation, you have to be open to change. For example, let's say that you have been using an internal work portal to distribute information about your company to employees. You may have found that some team members miss out on valuable project updates through your research because there is no way for these individuals to receive notifications about new updates during the workday.

These updates are timely and require their action. As a result, you need to begin to think about installing a mechanism for individuals to receive notifications or changing to a system that already includes this feature. The takeaway is that you need to be nimble enough to switch up processes if they are keeping your entire team from getting the information they need.

Change isn't easy, and the data backs this up. It is estimated that 70 percent of change programs fail due to employee resistance. Nevertheless, if you make it a point to communicate why proposed changes are important and how they can optimize the workday of your team members, then you have a better chance of getting their buy-in.

Have a Hub for Information

You want to ensure that you make everything related to project information, including updates, meetings, and organizational changes, easily accessible for your teams. First, you need to create a process that promotes the consistent notification of project updates and information. This can be having a system that sends email notifications about a project update or having daily or weekly check-in meetings that update team members on project information.

Second, pick a tool that can be used in a variety of instances. Now, you may not need something that can be accessed offsite, but it helps to have tools that allow for the use of features remotely if necessary. Ultimately, it will benefit you and the company to pick a tool that enables your team to securely access project data wherever they are.

Cultivate a Company Culture That Promotes Collaboration

How does your company culture prevent silos and fragmentation? It's time to take a look at your company's principles and beliefs to see how it impacts the prevention of silos. Eight-eight percent of employees believe strong company culture is key to business success. So, this aspect of your company is critical and can influence things like silos. For example, the right company ideals can promote effective collaboration.

Actively working with them to embrace collaboration should be a daily activity. You can help by setting aside time for them to work with one another or brainstorm. If your team's culture is to go their separate ways, you have to encourage them to come back together.

In addition to helping them set aside time for brainstorming, ask your teams how collaboration sessions went during meetings, or add questions or notes about collaboration during performance reviews. The more you promote this principle, the more your team members will likely come to embrace it.

Encourage Team Building

It may sound hokey, but team building can be successful in bringing your team members together. Whether you want to take your team through an escape room or engage everyone in interactive virtual training, the goal is to involve them in activities they can do together.

Situations like these can boost their attraction to working together while helping them realize how much they need each other to work through their projects. Moreover, see how you can promote social activities so your team members can get to know one another on a deeper level. These social ties can boost productivity and likely help to prevent silos.

Preventing Project Fragmentation Should be a Top Priority

If everyone is doing their own thing, then it will be a challenge to ensure you can produce project deliverables. Your clients, senior leadership, and other stakeholders benefit when everyone is working on the same page. Therefore, you need to make the act of rooting out data and workflow fragmentation a top priority. Doing so will increase your team's effectiveness and deepen the connections between your team members.


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