There's no such thing as technology – hardware or software – that works 100% of the time. However, IT today is generally excellent. And when the right technology is used to address the right business problem . . . productivity magic happens.
So if IT is so good these days, why do IT projects still fail? It's rarely the fault of the actual products being implemented. The truth is most companies flat out stink at planning for and then managing projects – ESPECIALLY information technology projects.
Every time a project fails, it costs you money, lost time, and opportunity costs. AND you have to start over or decide to limp along with an inferior result. Why do projects go wrong so often? I'm sure you've experienced at least a few of these six IT project management issues.
Pre-Planning? What's That!?!?
Goals and requirements have to be supported by a process that will allow all of the tasks to be completed on time. Before launching the project, there should be an agreed-upon statement of work
What We Do: We have an established process for all of our IT implementations – timeline, goals, roles and responsibilities, etc. We clearly communicate
No Executive Sponsor/Leadership
We all know that executives are prone to “bright and shiny, next new thing” object syndrome. When an executive gets bored with a project because of the planning required or it's taking too long, a project can go sideways fast as staff working on the project lose the urgency to complete it as it moves down the list of priorities. That's one reason for your business to set up a project approval gate through which new projects must pass.
For SMBs, this is sometimes an easier task as the management team is smaller. Still, it's important to have someone in a leadership position supporting a project through to completion.
What We Do: We work with the executive team to identify goals and meet regularly to “stay on the radar screen.” To keep your IT investment relevant, your virtual CIO will meet with you quarterly.
Lack of Budget Management
No one wants to pay too much for IT – or anything, really. One benefit of a managed IT engagement is that you know what you're going to spend every single month. There are no surprises. No unexpected repair bills (proactive maintenance is included in the contract). Budget for IT staffing is simplified as well because you don't need to allocate resources for that extra internal staff member to handle your network updates and/or data backups.
What We Do: One contract that clearly outlines services and costs.
Poor Resource Planning
Ensuring that the right resource is ready at the right time is hard, whether those are IT or personnel resources.
What We Do: Our project manager clearly outlines roles and responsibilities (and establishes time lines) at the beginning of the project.
Promise the Moon/Deliver a Failed Launch
Technology is incredible today and will continue to become even more incredible. It's sometimes easy to fall into the trap that IT can fix your business problems (it won't) or that any single IT project is going to solve EVERYTHING (not going to happen). Clearly identifying the project's goals from the beginning is a must. Working out service level agreements is too-often a last minute exercise. Understand the overall objectives of the initiative and plan for the right SLAs to ensure both parties meet those objectives.
What We Do: We work with execs and the folks who are affected day-to-day using various IT systems to identify and overcome business challenges. We never oversell what we will do. And failure to launch? Never.
“Why can't we just [insert your out-of-scope IT request here]”
Some variation of that question has been the death of IT projects the world over. If it's not in the statement of work; it's scope creep. And scope creep drains morale, slows down projects, and, if allowed, can lead to a confused mess.
What We Do: We have a clear plan. We stick to the plan.
Managing projects is hard. You probably don't have the in-house expertise needed to successfully manage an IT project. Managed IT services can completely remove that issue from your IT thinking. You have to make your in-house resources available, but someone else will create the schedule and timeline for when they need to be available for project work. And when the project is complete, it's managed for you.
For more information on everything to do with Managed IT Services, check out our resource page, here.