5 ways to F*CK UP an IT Project!

1. Incorrect Resource

We’ve seen this time and time again… An organisation has heavily invested (We are talking a few hundred thousand) in a new IT system only to nominate an internal ‘Project Manager’ called Bob who worked in Sales for the last 18 years, he did a great job selling insurance but has absolutely no project management skills and very low IT literacy. He hasn’t dealt with a software supplier before, and this is also his 1st ever IT project.

In a Project there are so many moving parts and to miss one is detrimental to a successful delivery. Defining Scope, managing workstreams & RISK, managing the supplier and the project team isn’t easy! What about communication & engagement, status reporting, decision making.. These things are easy to the trained PM!

Written down it surely looks obvious that Bob is not skilled in this area and shouldn’t be appointed to rollout a mega expensive IT system but this is the Number 1 way organisations f*ck up an IT Project!

2. Missing Documentation

It’s all about what you know.. As a non-IT business, would you know to ask your software supplier for a Statement of Work (SOW)? To be honest, the supplier should give you one as best practice (But many don’t *shakes head)

At the beginning of the project, a SOW is needed so that you can track what the supplier has promised to deliver (Otherwise known as deliverables) This document will be rich with information that you’ll need to refer to for the remainder of the project.

Another good one is a Technical Specification that explains what the software does and how it fits together, any bespoke customisation will need to be referenced in detail – just in case you want future development on that system.

3. No Discovery Completed

To understand what type of IT system is a best fit for your organisation you will need to complete the scoping phase by creating a Business Case. This phase is where the correct stakeholders have been notified and engaged, project objectives and business processes have been accounted for and agreed.

CEO’s take note here – We would recommend that the ‘do business on the golf course’, ends in an exchange of business cards rather than a purchase of a new IT system at hole 17.

There’s nothing worse than rolling out a new IT system to a department who didn’t know this change was coming. Not only does it cause a severe delay in timelines (Cuz of major push back) the IT system is guaranteed to not be utilised correctly. So, there’s £££ down the drain without even starting!

Plus, who checked if that HR system had a module, they could have added instead of buying yet another system to use for that process? I’d put money on Bob didn’t.

4. Lack of Communication

Even in this day and age of remote working you can be extremely successful in communicating within a project, it just takes effort and planning.

Set up your weekly working group with the team and add an agenda, track your project updates and add them to a snazzy plan-on-a-page. Create a Roadmap for easy visual aid.

Old fashioned pick up the phone and have a chat with your team members. Ensure they know what they’re doing and feel secure in the work they’re producing for you.. The last thing you want is a rogue IT Engineer saying he hasn’t got a clue when the integration is planned for or marketing doesn’t know when to send external comms about that new release. This spreads doubt and uncertainty, believe us when we say, the last thing you want are your stakeholders telling senior management that they don’t know what’s going on. You’ll either be replaced or you’ll have a hard time changing their minds even after multiple phone calls and updates.

5. No Governance Structure

Every team needs a reporting hierarchy. On a project you should limit multiple people contacting the supplier or giving their own status updates to the project sponsor. We find a lovely graph shows the team who manages who and what work stream reports to where.

Also, let’s not forget documentation is included in the Governance set up of a project, so things like a Project Initiation Document, RAID Log, Project Kick Off Slides, Action Log, detailed Project Plan.. Importantly, all these documents will need regularly maintaining and updating in their own workshop sessions. All this requires E.F.F.O.R.T. which we’ve seen doesn’t always happen.

Comms is a big one in project governance, we set up a Teams group and add in our stakeholders, provide updates and store all project documents within that Teams group to ensure a centralised repository.

In our opinion, these are the top 5 ways to F*ck up an IT Project… To completely eradicate any error, appoint one of our Project Managers then you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Don’t be like Bob’s business, appoint a real project manager today!

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