Every business has IT projects they want to complete. Whether it is a small change like introducing a public cloud platform, or a large one like migrating all your data from four servers onto one, you have to expect situations will arise that will make you want to pull your hair out. To overcome the challenges that come with any major IT project, consider these four points.
Understand What You Need
By understanding exactly what your company stands to gain from any new IT project, and being able to properly strategize to meet those ends, you can really help mitigate the rate of failure of said project. Some questions you should ask before getting started include:
- What is the best result from undertaking the project?
- What are the project’s potential benefits?
- Will this project affect the ability for multiple departments to continue operations as normal?
- Will the project affect your relationships with clients/prospects?
- How much, if any, downtime will the project cause?
- Does your staff need to be informed about the status of the project?
Planning for Delays
There are a litany of potential issues that can cause delays to a project. Typically, during the duration of a project something that wasn’t in the game plan will happen and will set the implementation timeline back. To guarantee that your project isn’t going to cause headaches for more people than it has to, anticipating that there will be a hiccup or two along the way is a solid practice. Providing your implementation team some time to iron out the kinks can go a long way toward having a solution that is implemented properly and ready to be utilized. And, if for some reason no problems arise, you will actually come in under budget, which is great for every business.
Measuring Progress and Hitting Benchmarks
If you are taking on a large IT project, gauging the success of it can sometimes be difficult. By breaking up the project and setting up very clear benchmarks, the overall implementation will benefit. Since there are a lot of facets to every IT project, including budget, timeline, and the unforeseen inefficiencies that we talked about above, setting up a system to best understand where you are with a project is a must. The use of key performance indicators (KPIs) can substantially improve your overall understanding of the project. Ashton Technology Solutions uses some of the following metrics when performing our IT projects:
- Actual cost
- Cost Variance
- Earned Value
- Planned Value
- Return on Investment
Of the four points in this blog, this is the one that is most neglected. Typically, it is the job of the project manager to, well, manage the project. To that end some managers don’t find it necessary for their resources to know the full scale of the project as they are traditionally only performing specific tasks. In our experience, to best drive a project home, and to get the best work out of your technicians, it is important that they are emotionally engaged with the success (or failure) of the entire project. Moreover, if the project has an effect on multiple facets of your business, communication is essential to ensure you aren’t hit with profit-killing downtime in moments when it is not completely expected.
There are many pieces of software currently on the market to help project managers run efficient projects. They have integrated options to ensure that communication is maintained and benchmarks are hit. These programs can make sure your team is keeping forward momentum, as it is essential to a project’s success.
Like most situations, an IT project will have unforeseen issues. To keep these issues from become problems that can cost your organization dearly, consider reaching out to the IT professionals at Ashton Technology Solutions. Our technicians understand just how much technology means to the modern business and can help consult you on how to get what you need done right. To learn more, call us today at 216-397-4080.