For the majority of organisations today, any major business change is often surrounded by disruption and change in IT Systems implementation. So you could be forgiven for thinking that common formulas for success would consistently work and a successful project implementation would be the norm. Unfortunately, successful IT projects are the rarity instead of the standard, usually less than one third considered successful. Why? Because when it comes to the complexities of IT Architecture one size, never fits all.
We've been involved in 100s of IT Projects over the years, including:
It might seem obvious that C Level Sponsorship is required from the boardroom decision makers. Yet, we've seen numerous occasions where decisions at the top either block or steer IT projects in a completely wrong direction. We've also seen critical projects fail simply because sponsorship wasn't seen, the leaders weren't active in the project.
We've seen whole projects implemented based on a CEO having a chat with a stranger on a plane (sitting in 1st class of course) sharing anecdotal stories of some new gizmo "that you have to have!" Money was poured into these unnecessary 'nice-to-haves' while business critical needs went wanting.
I'm not saying that all C Level big guns need to suddenly become IT savvy experts... although it would help. But they do need to seek good advice, and not necessarily from just within the organisation where political agendas and tunnel vision may blind things. Don't be afraid to get external consultants to work with the business to help balance the advice and offer a wider view of the the world and what can be achieved.
The poor geeks in the back room often get a bad rap (while they work on their fluorescent lights tans). Many are unable to speak in layman or business terms for the sake of the techy language they use to explain a simple task. But not all of them are like this! Many actually have a strong understanding of the business, how all the systems tie in together, what the common frustrations are, etc. So they are an invaluable resource. As such, it is important to find your most business savvy IT representative and include them from the get go in the decision making processes. They can indeed help steer things in a direction that is cost effective and feasible, with the built in knowledge of what will technically work... and what won't.
We've often seen teams of managers walk out of a boardroom pleased with themselves that they had solved all of the business issues and were going to resolve it by "getting IT to fix it". Trouble is, the other departments managers were doing the same thing. Yet at no step along the way had they even consulted IT, nor did they have consideration of the stresses and budget challenges being faced by other departments. In essence they were all working against one another, fighting for limited budgets to spend on IT resources.
It didn't need to be that complex, the reality was much simpler. If they had involved IT earlier, they could have demonstrated how all individual departmental challenges related back to particular system limitations and inefficient business process. Outside the Cubed has often aided in improving this understanding and the communication between IT and senior managers to marry the individual goals to the singular business vision. Crisis Over.
For Outside the Cubed, this is the glue that brings everything else together by providing balance to any IT Project. Ensuring you consult, survey and implement with consideration to End User suggestions is an important catalyst for stamping the project as successful. These are the people at the end point of any IT Project that suffer the consequences if it's not done well. They will also be the first to complain if the budget is spent on what they consider non-critical in comparison to the problems they're suffering.
Organisations often miss one of the most vital perspectives when designing an IT project. How is it going to impact the day-to-day operations? How will the staff on the ground react to the change? What effect on processes and procedures will occur with the new system? How much will it cost the business per hour / per day if staff productivity is impacted?
Just like Derek Silvers explains in this video:
Let's summarise those 3 critical perspectives for designing a successful IT project.