Include Time in Your IT Project Plan for Changes

Include time in your IT project plan for changesBy Ken Norland
Associate

If you’ve been in the IT world for any length of time, you know that large IT projects often go awry. Luckily, there are many ways to improve the chances that your IT project will succeed. In my last article I discussed the importance of getting an iteration of your project into end users’ hands as early in the process as possible. This gives you time to adjust mid-stream if necessary (and it usually is). Today I’d like to discuss a closely related topic: Allowing time in your IT project plans to actually make these adjustments.

Most Projects Need Multiple Iterations

Especially when creating IT project plans for large development projects, you need to assume that the project will require multiple iterations. Why? Because:

  • End users need to see early iterations, so they can provide much-needed feedback (as discussed in my last article)
  • Testers need to see early iterations, so they can de-bug their tests while the project is being developed
  • The project team might run into unforeseen technical difficulties, which can require additional iterations to resolve

Read more: Include Time in Your IT Project Plan for Changes

Don’t Wait to Get Your IT Project Into End Users’ Hands

An important way to help your IT project succeedBy Ken Norland
Associate

I’ve been writing about some ways that you can help your IT project succeed. In my last two articles I discussed picking the right project manager and then helping your project manager succeed by ensuring that she is actually allowed to manage. Today I’d like to talk about why you shouldn’t wait until the project is “done” before you get it into the end users’ hands.

IT Project Success Depends upon Meeting End Users’ Needs

If your project is aimed at producing something for end users to use, then ensuring that what you produce is what these people actually need and want is vital to the project’s success. We’ve all seen situations, though, where the delivered project perfectly matches the agreed-upon specs but is not accepted by the end users. There are a few common reasons why this happens:

  • End users’ needs evolve over time – If the specs were written six months ago, they probably do not fit the end users’ current understanding of what they need the project to do.
  • End users’ understanding changes as the project materializes – There’s a big difference between reviewing static specs or screen mock-ups and interacting with something live. Even if their needs have not changed at all, it’s common for end users to see what the project team has produced and say “Gee, that’s not what I meant.”
  • End users change – Sometimes by the time a project is delivered, the people who need it have changed. The new people may want it to work a little differently than what the previous people had envisioned.

Read more: Don’t Wait to Get Your IT Project Into End Users’ Hands

How to Help Your Project Manager Succeed

How to Help Your Project Manager SucceedBy Ken Norland
Associate

In my last article I gave some in-depth advice regarding “Picking the Right Project Manager for Your IT Project.” Once you have selected this person, it is your job as CIO to help your project manager succeed. The best way to do that is to ensure that your project manager is allowed to manage.

What prevents project managers from managing?

In my experience, the two most common problems that prevent project managers from actually managing are:

1. Micromanagement from above – The people who oversee the project but are not in the project, start micromanaging the process.

2. Misunderstanding of the project management role – The road to IT project failure is often paved by project managers who only take the “project reporter” role and not the “manager” role. These people attend or lead meetings, take notes, list issues and report on them to management. But they don’t drive these issues and problems to solutions and project progress – they wait for someone else to do that. This approach is guaranteed to fail in tough projects.

Read more: How to Help Your Project Manager Succeed

CIO Professional Services LLC is a top-rated IT consulting firm, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in strategic IT consulting and business / IT alignment. Companies come to us seeking assistance with their information technology strategy as well as to source interim CIO / CTO employees or fractional CIO / CTO's. Our IT experts can assist with integrating IT into your business processes - better - up to and including 'project rescue' in areas such as ITSM / ITIL, IT service strategy, and IT outsourcing. Business / IT strategy projects we have worked on include upgrading ERP systems, cybersecurity and IT consulting, IT assessment and organizational change. Cloud computing and business IT remain critical in today's business systems, and beyond that to the migration to the cloud of business IT. Our IT consultants can assist with all aspects of business / information technology alignment. Contact us today for a free phone consultation - we service clients not only in San Francisco or San Jose, but throughout the United States.

Copyright 2021. CIO Professional Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved. View our Privacy Policy.