Understanding risk is a vital part of successful project management. As we have already noted, one of the biggest challenges presented by an IoT project is successfully working with the diverse group of partners required for the successful delivery of the new IoT solution. The various elements of the project will include:
- Electronic design
- Electronic hardware
- Radio frequency communications
- Antenna design
- Embedded software development
- Platform development
- Mobile app development
Don’t think you can do everything yourself!
Choosing the right partners will be critical to success. You will need to select partners that can offer the skills you need to create the best solution for your specific needs, use case and user experience – as well as knowing that you can work well together.
A well-written and comprehensive specifications document that focuses on the end goal (the UX and KPIs of the final solution) will enable partners to work together effectively.
You have pulled together a team of experts with differing skills sets for a reason, so you need to trust each of them to bring their expertise to bear.
The project manager is at the heart of the communication between all stakeholders. The project manager will play a vital role feeding back elements of the project and any changes that occur during the project to everyone involved – whether or not they think the partners will be directly affected. This is important because other partners who are not directly affected by the changes may have important experience to share, or suggestions for further improvements.
It is not our intention here to discuss the many project management tools, methodologies or approaches; much debate about these can be found elsewhere. Rather, we would like to focus on the particular challenge the project manager faces during an IT project; namely, that of the problem of managing such a diverse group of experts.
In our experience, this means the project manager doesn’t only need good organizational and communication skills. He or she must also have the technical knowledge to understand what each partner is doing and understand the risks involved in each part of their contributions: only in this way can the project manager understand the implications of delays, changes or problems across the entire partner ecosystem and mitigate them successfully.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ANTENNA DESIGN
One of the most underestimated challenges of any IoT project is the performance of the antenna. For IoT solutions where the transmission of critical data is fundamental to the final solution’s success, the antenna is a critical piece of kit.
Moving IoT devices away from the industry-standard approach of relying on mobile data can bring significant cost and design benefits, not least in terms of extended battery life. However, there are very few international experts with a strong and proven background in antenna design. It is important to choose a partner who can deliver the optimized antenna required for your solution and to do this, they will need the specific skillset of antenna design.
This isn’t a job that can be picked up by your average device designers – no matter what they tell you. We have experienced a number of occasions where this critical element was overlooked and required emergency expert input during the latter stages of a product.
Plan for expert input from day one for this critical element of your project.
As with other project risks, this challenge should be identified during the specifications phase and carefully managed by the project manager.
When risk managements if backed up with a carefully considered and detailed specifications document, strong ongoing communication and the right set of partners, businesses should be able to weather most storms over the course of the project.