Project Risk Management,
Decoded: 

Approach to Project Risk Management

No digital project is immune to risk and challenges which may impact the timeline, budget and completion.  After 10 years of successful project outcomes, we take pride in routinely completing projects on-time, on-budget and to the client’s satisfaction.

Risk management in digital projects comes from risk avoidance (through sound project strategy and planning) and rapid identification of risk signals and response to same.  Here’s an explanation of our approaches to risk management.

Managing Timelines

One of the most common complaints associated with digital projects is that project timelines run longer than anticipated.  In order to minimize risks which impact project timelines, clients can expect Sandbox Software to:  

  • Develop a thorough but practical project plan outlining project responsibilities, milestones and deadlines, as well as milestones for our clients
  • Thoroughly monitor project status through internal project reviews
  • Keep project sponsors well-informed of project risks and status on an ongoing basis
  • Provide project sponsors with access to development environments to ensure Sandbox Software is meeting its commitments
  • Provide you with a client milestone plan that shows you when your deliverables are due
  • Deliver reminders a few days in advance of each milestone

Managing Communications

A lack of communication or miscommunication between project sponsors and a digital agency can result in the following problems:

  • Rework - because requirements are misunderstood (this can impact project timelines and budgets)
  • Clients being “left in the dark” regarding their project status
  • Development teams sitting idle waiting for materials or information from the client (impacting project timelines and, potentially, budget)
  • Confusion if staffing changes occur with either the project sponsor or the vendor

To assist in building a strong working relationship and to ensure informed communications, Sandbox Software carries out the following activities:

  • Develops a thorough project plan outlining project milestones, responsibilities and due dates
  • Develops a content delivery plan which outlines materials required by the client in order to meet milestones
  • Assigns key project contacts for each project
  • Provides clients with full contact information for all employees involved in the project
  • Corresponds frequently with project sponsor(s) by phone and email
  • Provides Bi-weekly Project Status Reports specifying potential risks to the schedule or budget, items completed in the previous two weeks, items to be completed in the following two weeks, items that are required by the client over the next two weeks and general comments or notes
  • Introduces clients to our bug and feature request online system, available 24/7
  • Responds to project inquiries within four business hours (or 8 hours on evenings and weekends)
  • Carries out a post-project Client Satisfaction Survey to obtain feedback in order to improve business processes and client relations

Sandbox uses a robust Project Management tool called FogBugz, which not only allows our team to create cases/tasks, but enables communication with our clients about progress and projected delivery dates.

Cost Control

Increases in a project’s budget can strain relationships between project sponsor(s) and digital agencies.  Disagreements on budgets can also result in stalled or cancelled projects.

At Sandbox Software Solutions, our provided pricing reflects the requirements established for the functionalities we’ve discussed with you during our discovery, and presented to you in our proposal.  Our pricing is based on estimates of staff time required to achieve an outcome. However, if we underestimate against a clearly understood and jointly accepted requirement, we will ensure that the functionality will be completed at the price estimated.

For cases where clients request changes in scope against jointly-accepted functional requirements, Work Request proposals are submitted promptly to the client, and all such requests must be approved before work is undertaken.

Managing Expectations

To be fair to both the website sponsor and vendor, it is important to ensure everyone involved in the project understands the client’s expectations for the project.  Misunderstanding requirement expectations or over-promising features and functions can result in a dissatisfied client and/or incomplete project.  To avoid risks associated with expectations, you can anticipate Sandbox Software to:

  • Ensure requirements are well-documented in Proposals/Agreements or through a Requirements Document
  • Ask questions throughout the process to ensure the project is moving in the right direction
  • Work with internal stakeholders using methods including key informant interviews, focus groups (facilitated with audience response/touchpad technology) and online or distributed surveys
  • Complete a Creative Analysis discussion, providing (a) design concept(s) for consideration and, when agreed upon, multiple rounds of revisions to the selected creative concept
  • Assist in mapping out the structure, content, navigation and usability features of the digital solution
  • Provide clients with access to development environments for 24/7 review in order to ensure the project is evolving as expected

Our On-Time Commitment

Sandbox has a history of achieving or beating deadlines established for our projects.  Our track record includes rapid deployment of digital solutions even when the client has been delayed in meeting its milestones or providing content.  Our commitment is simple – we will deliver what was agreed upon (and as long as you’ve delivered relevant decisions and content) on time and on budget.  Our clients will tell you this is so!