10 simple suggestions to make your next IT project run smoothly.
IT projects. Many love to hate them. Are you planning a new project? Perhaps you are knee deep in the middle of one. If so, there are ways to help make the project run as smoothly as possible and hopefully ease any urges you might have to obtain a voodoo doll in the likeness of your developer!
IT projects, on the surface, are not much different than marketing projects, branding projects or HR projects. When it boils down to it, projects typically consist of more than one person, a to-do list, supplies and a deadline. Now, most often I read or hear about folks frustrated with IT projects. Typically I would say it has to do with a communication and knowledge gap. Now I am not saying you have to be an expert coder to avoid frustration with IT, but a basic understanding of what you are asking for, as well as common sense and a dash of realistic expectations, are also required. Below are a few ways to ease your project woes.
1. Be prepared. Before you start looking for a developer or IT team, or prior to approaching your IT staff take some time to prepare. Make a detailed list of what you are trying to accomplish with your project. Do some research. Are there similar types of systems or software out there? If so, take notes on what you like about them and what you dislike. Be detailed in how you want yours to be different.
2. Be specific. When you are preparing your project for bids, RFPS or deployment to staff be specific in your goals. Take time to think about all avenues. Make a flowchart outlining specific steps and end goals.
3. Anticipate change. When you present your project idea, be prepared for push back. I don't mean it in a negative way. Be prepared for your developer or IT team to pick it apart and raise multiple "what if" points. You see tech staff thinks in a truly logical manner, all "I's" must be dotted and all "T's" crossed. Typically they will ask lots of questions, and come up with scenarios you hadn't considered. This is a good thing! It is important to ask your development team or IT staff for a detailed walkthrough of their workflow process.
4. Be patient. During the project presentation phase, be patient. Take time to answer questions thoroughly. Provide as much documentation with as much detail as possible.
5. Don't be wishy-washy. Once you hammer out the details and get moving do not keep changing things. Multiple changes are typically not budgeted for, can cause delays and frustration.
6. Do your part. If you are required to provide information, content, photos, etc in a timely manner.
7. Be realistic. Don't expect lavish, high functioning systems in a few short weeks and on a shoe-string budget. Do not keep adding to the project and not expect the goal line to be pushed back. Do not try to sneak new features or functionality into a project and expect the cost to stay the same.
8. Treat others as you would like to be treated. If you expect communication, common courtesy, quick turn around time and respect from your IT staff, treat them in kind. Chances are if you are frustrated with them, they are frustrated with you. Take a breathe and make sure you are communicating well and are presenting all the facts, data and documentation you can.
9. Do not expect mind readers. If you do not tell your programmer what you want, do not expect them to read your mind and do it anyway. Chances are if they started doing things without your direction thinking you would like it, you would probably not be happy because it wasn't what you asked for.
10. Don't expect miracles. Most programmers and/or IT staff like a challenge. But, sometimes you have to be realistic. Don't expect them to pull off the impossible.
At the end of the day, a successful project requires communication, knowledge, patience, respect, time and typically money. If everyone does their part, a lot of grief during projects can be avoided. So, before you embark on your next IT project, take a deep breath, go over your information and remember you play a huge role in the success as well.