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Avoiding IT project disasters

Tim Mendham | Aug. 13, 2013
Your initiatives are often the most expensive, high profile and high risk.

GM for technology and operations, Clive Bailey, says the team had a number of drivers including hard deadlines, budget and outcomes, which tightly framed the project. "They were challenging at times, but we were able to find practical and creative ways around every issue that cropped up."

Here, he lays out the criteria used:

Preparation was vital to success. This involved thorough research, product selection and testing, piloting of products and eventual training and then rollout to the entire business.

Good communication was required to ensure an easy transition. This was managed by the project's steering committee with regular project updates to staff and feedback from them as the project progressed.

Buy-in was needed at every level. "Everyone needed to understand what we were trying to do and why, which included management and staff," Bailey says. "Buy-in was important to ensure we were prepared for the move and to get commitment to a new way of working once we moved.

Clear goals were in place. The CEO was clear about the vision and goals for the project and this framed all thinking and outcomes.

Metrics were paramount. "There were a number of hard metrics set like seating and workstation ratios, storage reduction, energy reduction and a NABERS fit-out rating target," he says.

"Soft metrics such as improved collaboration and communication, a place where people want to work and greater engagement between our employees, tenants and investors are harder to measure but we are already seeing significant improvements in these areas and future surveys will validate this assumption."

The success of the project was predicated on coming up with a clear vision for success. "For this project to be successful I want my business colleagues to have only one decision to make on the morning that they come into the new office space — 'Which desk am I going to sit at today?'," Bailey says.

"My rationale behind this statement was that there would be no surprises for anyone in the new office space, at least from a technology perspective. This meant we would have to research, test, pilot and deploy all the new technologies to everyone before we moved into the new premises."

11 signs your IT project is doomed
1. The project has launched without senior buy-in

2. No detailed project plan exists

3. Meetings have been scheduled without concern for team member availability

4. Users have had little or no early involvement

5. The project targets the minimum specs

6. Testing is an afterthought

7. No recovery plan is in place in the event of failure

8. Expert recommendations have been rebuffed without testing outcomes

9. The go-live date is a weekend or holiday

10. Expectations have not been set

11. Training is an afterthought


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