Implementing a Successful IT Project
An IT project can be one of the largest tasks a business undertakes. While great planning and the right engagement is vital, ensuring everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are throughout the process will eliminate any setbacks.
Here are 6 key areas that will help make your project implementation a success:
Whatever type of project you are implementing, you should have a clear, well documented path, set completion timeframes, and a plan for how you will transition back into business as usual.
- Identify goals and desired outcomes. These might be increased productivity, improved communication, process automation, cost savings etc.
- Involve not only stakeholders but also your team in the planning process. They will have valuable insights into day-to-day workflow, areas that could be improved, and how long tasks take to complete.
- Understand the challenges and how the project will affect daily workflow. By identifying these early, team members have time to plan work arounds where required.
- Explore any exclusions so that there are no surprises at the completion of the project.
- Work out what areas will require training and have a plan to roll out to your team.
The provider you select will be a partner throughout and possibly beyond the implementation process, so it is important you choose the best fit for your business.
- Ensure the project scope directly relates to your desired outcomes.
- Check the proposal includes a fixed price. It is always best to ask upfront if any add-ons or extra fees are likely to arise, to avoid any nasty surprises.
- Review proposals and select the solution that best suits your needs and business objectives. Price is not always the best indicator; ensure you are comfortable with the entire implementation process and the people that will be involved.
- Know who your best contact is. You should have a dedicated contact or account manager that will be available to answer any questions or make required adjustments if issues arise.
3. Project Schedule
Now that you have committed, you need to look at each deliverable and define the series of tasks that will need to be handled internally. Although your IT company will complete the technical elements, there will be tasks that will need to be completed at office level to keep the project moving. Ask yourself:
- Do certain tasks need to be completed before others can begin?
- Who is responsible for each task?
- What is the agreed schedule for completing tasks?
- How will we track the status of each task?
- How will we manage any hiccups?
4. Implementation & Training
Allocating the right amount of time and resources to your IT project, means timeframes will be met and potential issues identified in time to make changes.
- Schedule enough time to complete the tasks that are typically on top of your usual busy work schedule.
- Follow the project plan but adjust it if needed. If you get to a point and realise that things are not working, or the end result may not be what you initially thought, schedule a meeting to work out what changes are needed.
- Have a backup plan if someone is away or is struggling to complete an internal task. By having another team member on standby to assist, you can avoid completion delays.
- Deal with issues or complaints as soon as possible. If you spot a potential problem, address it so adjustments can be made before any more work is completed.
- Schedule training for users in the lead up to or close after the project is completed. This will ensure a smooth transition on go live day.
Ensure your entire team knows what is happening, completion timeframes, and how processes will change. The earlier everyone is on board, the easier the transition back to business as usual will be.
- Launch the project with a positive announcement to the company outlining the reasons why the project is happening and the benefits it will drive.
- Update the company on a regular basis before, during, and after the project. A countdown plan is a great way to keep your team excited about the go live date.
- Ask for regular reporting. Your external provider should provide ongoing progress updates which outlines stage completions, issues, and any delays.
- Document stages and milestones during and post-project. This information will be invaluable for future referencing and training of new staff members.
Once the project is complete, you should check in with stakeholders and your team to determine how things went. Here are some questions you could ask:
- Does the end-product/new process look like it was supposed to?
- Did the implementation process run smoothly?
- Do we need to review and update any existing company policies and procedures to match the changes?
- Are all staff now confident using the new systems/processes?
- What could be done better on the next IT project?
- What feedback could we provide to our IT provider to make our next stage or next project run smoother?
TechPath’s vCIO team can assist with IT strategy, project planning, implementation, business process improvement, IT budgeting, and more. Contact us today to find out how we can transform your business.
Read more about vCIO in our article: Virtual CIO Services: How They Save Business Costs (While Increasing IT Strategy)
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