Never have we been in a more dynamic, fluid environment for IT professionals than today. The pandemic was all about battening down the hatches, then we (sort of) came out of it, then back in it again. Now, as you adjust your team to this somewhat precarious new normal and get some projects going, it's important to keep your eyes open for signs of potential IT project misfires that can bring your networks, end users and company to a grinding halt. CIO Magazine published an interesting look at all the things waiting to go wrong for IT departments and why. While the article focuses on the really big disasters often associated with major deployment failures, we've extracted a few of their insights, and put our own spin on them, based on years spent in the trenches with IT colleagues and clients.
Here are three things that may trigger the next IT debacle lurking around the corner.
Higher volume:This may well be due to all the initiatives planned before the pandemic brought them all to a halt. Now you have to make up for lost time. There is pent up need among your users as well as new best practices and standards to be met. Tackling it all takes time. And it opens the door to error and misfires as IT managers scramble to install new technologies while making sure all the old stuff is still working.
Inexperienced team members:Along with more projects, comes the need for more workers to help put them into action and support them. But budget constraints mean you can only hire so many people and may have had to settle for less experienced team members. Watch out. That lack of experience could play out negatively.
Lack of sufficient testing:So many implementations go awry because they are not properly tested. This may be occurring more frequently these days due to remote workers. There are clear benefits to having your testers sitting within close proximity of one another. They can learn hands-on from the mistakes and fixes of the person sitting next to them. That becomes more challenging when your team is not together.
Can you avoid these triggers? Yes. Here are three things you can and should do to avoid an IT disaster:
Create a “lessons learned” presentation.Make sure it is put together by one of your senior colleagues. Better yet, tap an experienced systems integration professional. Few folks have more “lessons learned” than SIs and many are willing to share their hard-earned knowledge with your team. Take advantage of it!
Set clear goals with the project, well in advance.And stick to them! Often a project will morph from a well mapped out set of processes with quality checkpoints to something full of tacked-on “adds” that were not well thought out, nor present in the original plan. This can lead to short-cuts and workarounds that leave IT management crossing fingers hoping that “go live” will somehow go okay. It won’t.
Before “go live”, get a fresh set of eyes from a professional outside your team.Often IT managers and their employees get so mired in the day-to-day work and so eager to reach the finish line that they can no longer look at their work objectively. That’s when you need to bring in someone who has nothing to gain or lose by giving you an honest assessment of the quality of the work conducted, the goal being worked towards and the schedule in place. Reach out to someone you trust. And listen to what they say.
Before you start any new project, slow down and take stock of your team, their capabilities and how you organize your work. And, while you're focused on your project, make sure you're not neglecting some of the basics of operating your department. Contact us to learn more about how our professional services team can help take some things off your plate and free you and your team up to tackle the big stuff. We're here to help!