Four Preparatory Steps for IT Project Success

Your IT project is over budget, behind schedule, and your team is overworked and burned out. If that sounds like every technology upgrade you’ve ever attempted, it might be time to get out ahead of these projects and introduce better planning into your pre-deployment process.

IT departments are notoriously strained on resources, so when it is time to engage in a digital transformation initiative, few can handle the day-to-day along with the project requirements. With a tight budget and timeline, teams become even more stretched.

Businesses often turn to a supplier as a strategic partner, hoping they’ll step in to fill the gaps and accomplish the IT project. This results in new problems such as a design that’s overly complex or a solution that is far outside the intended budget. While you do want the benefit of working alongside a key vendor with whom your enterprise has a strong relationship, they will still need strong leadership from your IT staff who will have a much more intimate understanding of your environment and the factors that could complicate your project.

Enterprise IT can often underestimate the level of skill and effort needed to execute an IT project. These four areas should be addressed before beginning the project:

Assess the Current Technical Environment. Too often, a business begins a major IT project without adequate information ready. The common downfall is that the team knows that the information is available, so they downplay the effort required to assemble it from disparate locations. For instance, if a team is implementing software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), they need to identify WAN circuits with site, cost, bandwidth and utilization, traffic flows, and prioritization needs. The information is accessible, but assembling it takes significant time and effort.

Define an Adequate Timeline. While an overly-tasked IT team may want to lean heavily on a service provider for the heavy lifting, teams often underestimate the amount of time that will be required from internal personnel to complete an IT project. Areas such as configuration preparation, testing, running pilots, and adjusting rollout plans are all items that can be planned into the timeline so that stakeholders have a better awareness of when they can expect completion.

Staff the Project Appropriately. A common mistake is assigning the IT staff with the right availability rather than with the right skills. Even when the vendor is handling most of the work, it’s important to assign a project manager that is adequately trained for the project they will oversee.

Involve the Teams Impacted by the Project. While IT may be divided into groups according to function – such as network and security teams – many IT projects span more than one of these teams. Even a project that is generally confined to one area may still have an impact on other teams, so it’s a good idea to pull in representatives from each of those groups into planning and impact meetings to determine how configurations or system choices may affect other teams.

Addressing these four areas before embarking on an IT project can help smooth the way for an easier transition. Contact us at One Connect for more guidance on creating a project that begins with the right elements in place.