How to overcome the risks of embarking on a technology project
Whether you’re planning to update your software, improve your IT security, or embark on another technology project, there’s little question that you’ll be facing numerous risks as you embark on this new project.
Failed IT projects can damage your company and negatively affect its reputation, while successful projects can increase productivity and lead to happier staff and customers.
Unfortunately, when a technology project fails, it will often fail badly.
Queensland Health’s payroll system is still continually under and overpaying employees each fortnight (with some receiving payments of up to $770,000).
Then there’s the new baggage handling system at Heathrow, which caused huge lines and missed flights as IT glitches hit during the peak of summer travel (when a couple ended up missing flights to their own wedding).
And let’s not forget the $1.55 billion ticketing system MYKI in Victoria, with glitches by the problem-plagued machines causing users to have invalidated cards and receive large fines- even though they had topped up their cards.
These are just a few of the high-profile disasters that have recently hit the headlines, and there are thousands of failed technology project implementations that do serious damage to companies and go unreported each year.
Here are some of the top technology project risks and how you can overcome or avoid them:
Poor user involvement
This is one of the top reasons why technology projects will fail, and if users aren’t actively involved in the planning of the project, they’ll often change specifications or add requirements during the project development, which can increase costs and cause time delays. It is also important that the project accurately reflect the requirements from the end-user, whether this be an internal business unit, or your customers.
Before embarking on a new technology project, take the time to plan exactly what you need from this project and include your stakeholders within the design phase. Encourage input from all levels of your business, and if relevant include your customers in the design phase and collaborate with the software development or IT company that’s handling the project. A good software developer will listen to what it is you need, make suggestions, and then keep you updated while managing your expectations throughout the technology project.
Project management problems
This is another common problem and can happen due to a variety of issues, such as a lack of understanding about the technology project deliverables or the work involved, unrealistic time estimates, budget or scope creep.
Speak with your team to determine when the project needs to go ahead. It’s also a good idea to give yourself a buffer, and adding an extra week or two to your timeline in case of any delays or changes to the project can help avoid stress as the project gets closer to the deadline. Finally, if your project consists of new software or another type of IT upgrade, choose a company with an established reputation for meeting deadlines.
Like it or not, sometimes technology projects will have issues during the implementation period- as seen with Heathrow’s baggage system. While any technology project should be tested and retested for bugs, unfortunately unexpected problems can occur once the project goes live.
One way to increase profitability and keep your customers happy is by leveraging technology, allowing you to reduce admin tasks.
Take a week to analyse the amount of time you and your team are spending on non-strategic tasks and consider implementing some tools that will allow you to make better use of this time, respond to customers more quickly, and make life easier for employees.
Some ways you can do this include updating your software, moving brand assets to the cloud (things like logos, videos, images and marketing copy often end up on USB’s and desktop computers), giving customers access to important information on their mobile devices (usually with an app), and collecting customer data to tailor a better experience for them.
If you hire a great software development company, the job doesn’t stop once the technology project is complete. Before choosing a company to develop and manage your project, ask about their follow-up service after the project. Will you be able to approach the developers with any questions? Will they continue working with you once the project is complete? And will they be available to immediately fix any issues as they arise?
Knowing that you’ll have a team “backing you up” for both the duration and completion of the project will mean less stress on your end, and a better result during every step of the technology project.
As you can see, while there are a few common issues which will cause a project to fail, by understanding the risks and addressing them early on, you can overcome these risks and launch a successful technology project.
If you’re looking for an experienced software development and IT company that places an emphasis on communication and meeting deadlines, get in touch with Intergy today.
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