How to Avoid 3 Common Technology Project Blunders(1)

3/28/2018

IT Industry OutlookAmong the 12 “Trends to Watch” cited by the international information technology trade association CompTIA in its “IT Industry Outlook” is “Businesses Race to Upgrade Digital Expertise in the Boardroom.”

“Aligning technology to optimally meet business objectives continues to challenge many organizations,” CompTIA researchers write in their report. “This starts with shortcomings in developing a strategy and vision that covers not only technology, but also the people and process elements.”

“People and process elements” indeed. Today’s drive for digital transformation is no small challenge for businesses of all shapes and sizes. As innovative technologies – such as cloud services, mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) – deliver greater operational efficiency to organizations, they also bring deepening complexity.

Per CompTIA’s Outlook: “Because most technology initiatives today span multiple functional areas and entail many moving parts – infrastructure, mobile environments, data, and integrations, projects can quickly derail without the necessary levels of commitment and resources.”

So, organizations increasingly are recognizing the importance of “tech-savvy” leadership.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean having deep technical knowledge, but rather having a feel for the tech landscape, knowing the types of questions to ask, and being able to push back on pursuits that may be a poor fit for the organization,” researchers write.

To aid our readers in the pursuit of this type of executive acumen, we found a recent column for CIO magazine by leadership guru Moira Alexander. She identifies 10 management misconceptions that can derail projects of any kind. Here are three issues from Alexander’s list that are particularly troublesome when collaborating on technology projects with your IT Managed Services Provider (MSP):

  • Assuming Your MSP Understands Your Business Objectives
    The best MSPs help you implement your technology objectives; they don’t provide them. Yes, your MSP’s technical expertise can help you shape those objectives by asking for your wish list, setting realistic expectations, etc. But to be successful during this process, you must take the lead. You know your business and its budgets better than any consultant of any type. Collaborate internally and capture project goals on paper before launching an implementation with your MSP. Make sure there’s plenty of talk before all the action commences.
  • Presuming Scope Changes Indicate Trouble
    Scope changes are typical for most projects, especially those involving emerging technologies. “Depending on the industry, nature of the project, project complexity, or other factors, scope changes can be an expected or necessary events,” Alexander writes in her CIO post. “Concern around scope changes occur when changes are frequent and unexpected, and when the future direction of a project remains uncertain after the scope change.” So, like forming objectives, communication is key when dealing with changes in scope. Hit pause, sit down with your MSP and make sure there’s plenty of talk before all the action resumes.
Believing Technology Projects Are “Complete”
The business reality of our digital age is evolution is constant, especially in realms such as cybersecurity and business continuity. Arching over every technology project, should be continual communication with your MSP, with a deliberate process for reflecting on successes and failures to carry forward knowledge and lessons learned.