The fear of having an IT project fail can be a strong deterrent for many, despite the expected business advantages to be gained.
With the digital transformation well underway, IT projects are what set's many businesses apart of their competitors. Whether it be for internal efficiencies through streamlined business processes, or establishing a desirable point of difference in the customers eye.
If it's your first time taking on an IT project, or you have been doing this for years, in this article we offer our 4 tried and tested methods for ensuring a successful outcome.
1. Having a fool proof plan
The trick here is not just using any old, standard planning approach, but to use the working backwards theory. As the name suggests, you conceptualize and outline your end product in the form of a PR release, and then work backwards to develop the specifications of your project.
Not only does this clarify your concept, but it also helps your project team understand the scope of the project so they don’t under, or over engineer.
This approach is used by Amazon's CTO Werner Vogels, and you can read more about it here.
2. Finding the right people
The right people go beyond the right 'fit', and people who 'get' your project. The right people we are referring to are those who have the talent to be able to execute your project on time and aligned with the specifications.
This might seem like a harsh statement, but we have seen time and time again projects which fail as a result of inadequate skills of the people working on the project.
So, how can you tell if the team you are working with has the skill level required, without being a software developer?
This brings us to our next point...
Click play to watch our Founder discuss why 95% of IT projects fail
3. Knowing the red flags
Understanding when your project is going awry is incredibly important to pulling off a successful project. Without knowing the red flags, how are you supposed to know when to maneuver to get back on track?
The ultimate red flag to watch out for is 'Meeting IT'.
Meeting IT is where you start having regular catchups with the team and project manager, but the project team eventually stop showing up as they are being pulled into other work. So, you're left with going through a spreadsheet with a Project Manager, showing incremental progress and explaining the challenge they are facing. This is what you want to avoid.
Avoiding meeting IT starts with you!
If your project manager is insisting on having a meeting, make it a requirement that the project team turn up prepared as well. If they don't, you know you're in Meeting IT.
4. A contingency plan
What if despite taking all the precautions, your project is failing?
This is where you fall back on a predetermined contingency plan. Where you have outlined the expectations and deadlines, and if they're not being met you have the ability to cut your losses before too many resources have been drained into a sinking ship.
We recommend having your contingency plan outlined before you start your IT project, and exercise it if need be.
There's always going to be an element of risk when it comes to outsourcing projects, however, you can minimize these risks by having the right processes in place, and knowing key identifiers that signal it's going off track. These are the 4 pillars we give as a guide to all our clients, and what we recommend to anyone looking to undertake an IT project.