Almost 50% of all IT projects in the “challenged” category.
With all the new “tips, tricks, and techniques” coming out almost daily regarding new approaches to IT project management, “project rescue” is still the leading implementation o re-implementation plan.
All projects have issues. There probably never has been a technology related project that went so smoothly that everyone involved was excited to move on to the next project. That being said, Datamatics Group has been selected for project rescue and recovery many times. Thousands of organizations begin projects with limited experience and later require experienced professionals to get the project back on track and on the road to success.
Some rescue advice: Never allow another implementation company or consulting firm to come in and take over a project that is already in trouble if their approach is just to begin where the other(s) left off. Regardless of what the new provider says, they’re charging time and materials to learn the project. Furthermore, while they learn the project, they may also be misunderstanding the causes of the problems encountered by the previous firm.
Clearly a “fresh look” at the project is in order. This should involve the inclusion of new people from inside your company. Choosing to alsoinclude experienced IT project managers from outside the organization is the best choice. They are less likely to be persuaded by internal politics or misdirected by high power influencers. Datamatics Group project managers have been called in to rescue hundreds of different scenarios at many levels regarding projects gone awry, and we take a simple yet methodical 3 step approach for review:
- Project Assessment – Without stepping back and understanding how you got to where you’re at, it’s hard to believe you’d like to keep going without a review, but that’s exactly what some firms recommend. Often times what causes a big riff are the processes that are considered “sacred” because they give the organization their competitive advantage. These processes are not usually given the clout they deserve and are dismissed by vendors and internal staff that don’t understand their critical importance to the business. It usually means the technology trumped the process and the business lost.
Datamatics Group’s foundation for it’s solid project success begins with the Operational Assessment. We give project participants a “safe” place to communicate previous project steps and missteps because an objective view is the best place to begin. Skilled project rescue managers know how to retrieve good information even in the midst of passionate subjective participants. What’s most important in the assessment is understanding what business processes should be followed to get the desired results. If done properly, the assessment can be uplifting and refreshing as opposed to accusatory and demeaning.
- Root Cause(s) – It’s easy to say the root cause of any failed project is poor planning. However, you can have an awesome, beautiful plan that is misguided if it’s directed toward the wrong goals. Root cause discovery is imperative in order to have a good Operational Assessment. Of the three possibilities, people, process, or technology, most rescue projects don’t even have the technology working yet, which means the flaw is probably people or process.
Since the rescue should begin with anassessment, Datamatics Group takes a unique approach to process review. Using our TrueNorthTMmethodology we can begin to define or redefine the current project, identify possible problems and solutions, and create a road map to success.
- Create a Business Case (Road Map – Blueprint) – Once the root cause(s), objectives, goals, measurements, and future state are understood and possibly redesigned, a Business Case (Blueprint) for success must be presented to the project members, owners, and executives.
With Datamatics Group’s unique approach of driving success with process first, people second, and using technology simply as a tool, we help rescue and lead a successful project with realistic budgets, time frames, goals, and measurements.
On the Road to Recovery
Most often vendors are blamed for project failure and rightfully so, but not for the reason that most people use to “fire” them. As harsh as it sounds, a vendor has one primary objective – money. Getting the applications you purchased installed as quickly as possible allows vendors to move on, sell more applications, and make more money. The margin on software is significantly larger than those on services, so while they truly are trying to get the software installed and functional, their methodology is still flawed. In their need to speed the implementation, vendors “shoe horn” you into “best of breed” applications concepts that don’t fit your unique business processes. And this is the primary reason the project fails.
What Datamatics Group does is bring the vendor back to the table, only this time with the Blueprint in hand. Datamatics Group uses a three step approach to project recovery:
- Educate the Vendor and/or Implementer – Providing the vendor with the blueprint is by far the best way to educate the vendor and expose possible software limitations. Once process is matched with technology, Datamatics Group can help put a plan in place to address concerns and provide resolutions. Before, the vendor controlled the implementation with standard “best practices,” but now you control the implementation with critically needed processes that make your business unique.
- Software Review – Much of the process will flow smoothly now that both the vendor/implementer and your company are on the same page working toward the same goals. Datamatics Group’s experience following thousands of processes through hundreds of technologies can help set a course for high quality and rapid resolution if questions do arise.
- Install and Go Live – This should be the simplest, most enjoyable part of any IT project, but Datamatics Group knows this step is actually extremely stressful. The culmination of months, sometimes years, of work and possibly people’s careers are riding on this single moment. Datamatics Group has the highest skill level of project managers in the industry and that proficiency provides your company with the best chance of success.
After go-live, the project certainly doesn’t end. Performance Measurements and Analysis should be ongoing to continuously improve. The Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) were all set up previously, so monitoring for desired results should be available. Another best practice is to turn the project over to a Portfolio Management Officefor Business Process Management (BPM). If your organization is not structured with those services, Datamatics Group has the capability to set those in motion.