IT projects are important to every business. They come in many forms and sizes including: adopting a new operating system, streamlining business processes, or creating a new website. The rate of failure is surprisingly high when it comes to deployment. In fact, the Project Management Institute (PMI) estimates that less than two-thirds of projects meet their goal and 17% of all projects completely fail. Failing projects or not meeting your business needs isn’t something small businesses can afford to do because it jeopardises money, risks quality and undermines your brand’s image.
To improve the success rate of your projects, considering employing the following strategies:
Develop your talent
Handing project roles to anyone in your organisation may seem simple in the process but, this practice costs you time and money. Opt for a team within your IT department that is dedicated to projects based on their knowledge and skills. Relying on a team will help with regard to accountability, training, and project specifics.
Get executives on board
There are many companies that fail to see the significance of project management. They don’t understand the risks associated with quality, completion, and how the potential for increased success through a dedicated project team will help the overall strategy of the organisation. Without executives championing the need for a dedicated project management team, it will never be a priority, and your brand will suffer due to the inability to deliver on time, per quality standards, and within the established budget.
Manage your project team
Regardless if your organisation handles small or big projects, the continued operations of your business and your clients require that you be within your budget. In most cases, clients like for the project to be completed under budget. When working with IT professionals, the costs of the project can become expensive fairly quickly. One great way to keep your eye on cost is by monitoring employee hours through Xero integrated scheduling and payroll software like Deputy. Web-based software that allows management to monitor project hours in real time will help your IT projects remain on target.
PMI estimates that high performing organisations have standardised processes when it comes to their projects. Their systematic approach to projects means they have a higher success rate when it comes to successfully completing projects. Standardised processes include establishing a document depository, reliable and accurate quality assurance measures, and triggers to identify deviations. Even though each project is different, the methodology associated with completing the project remains the same; therefore, establishing protocols will save you time, money, and help you improve quality.
Align your projects with your business strategy
If you are a small business, you can not underestimate the importance of aligning your projects with your overall business strategy. Taking on projects that conflict with your overall goals do nothing to progress your business. The benefits of alignment include:
- More profits
- Increased market share
- Customer retention
- Strengthened culture
- Attained strategic goals
Aligning your projects means your business doesn’t simply think of project management as a department; it must become just as important as accounting, human resources, and logistics. Every functional area of your business works in unison to ensure the success of the business. Any fragments within the business will undermine the success of the organisation.
Create explicit expectations
Every project has a clear ending which means something was created. The final output can be a document or a bridge; however, if you don’t establish clear expectations prior to starting the project you risk everything. Understanding the scope of the project allows you to determine what your client wants or helps you complete an internal project with your business needs in mind. Starting a project without clear directions will increase the chances of scope creep and you risk losing money.
Create a system that requires clear definitions, documents and explanations for the entire project. In addition to increasing your chances of completing the project, knowing what to expect upfront will also allow you to make sound quality checks throughout the project.
Don’t allow the grapevine to undermine your project
The grapevine refers to rumours or concerns associated with the project amongst your employees. Whether they are concerned about the scope of the project or the project manager, you must get in front of the problem and lead your team to success. One of the best ways to mitigate the effects of the grapevine is by standardising your project. When employees know what to expect, their concerns are silenced.
For small business, jeopardising funds, reputation, or the quality of your projects isn’t an option. The ability to successfully complete IT projects, will enable you to expand your business and outperform your competition.