There comes a time in every business when the introduction of new technology is required. You know that the change is needed and will likely bring added productivity or cost saving with it. What you are trying to work out is WHEN this change could happen. You are aware that this could be a disruptive project for you and your staff and there never seems to be a good time. When thinking about implementing a new project, there are considerations every business leader needs to know. As an IT project manager with Systems Engineering, I understand the impact a change can have on an organization. This is especially true for the end-users. So often we meet companies who need to implement a new solution, but don’t have the time or know-how to get started. Others may not have a clear picture of the impact on their organization once they pull the project trigger. This is where enlisting a knowledgeable IT project manager can help you navigate in a successful way.
At Systems Engineering, our clients get started with a business developer for new accounts, or their dedicated account manager for existing customers, to explore and identify the need for new or upgraded technologies. Next, we bring in a solutions architect to scope out the right solution and identify any weaknesses or challenges that may exist. The team then assigns a project manager, like me, to guide the project from initiation, execution, and through to a productive close. There is now a fully implemented project firing on all cylinders, while the client has the freedom to keep business running as usual.
As project managers, we know the biggest risk to any successful project is to underestimate the impact of change on an organization. The end users are the most at risk as they tend to be the power users of the programs under review. Taking a holistic view of company activities and what other initiatives may be happening is a vital first step of any project plan. Events such as quarterly or yearly sales campaigns, hiring sprees, a pending office relocation, or any major initiatives planned can pull energy and focus away from the current project. Once we identify these events, the next step is to look at the impact the proposed project will have on each of the following groups. Those who have impact, those who are impacted, and those NOT impacted by the change.
- Those in your organization that will have an impact on this change.
This group includes the key stakeholders and decision-makers. We also consider those who will help implement, test, and perfect your new technology. These individuals need to be prepared to take on this additional project workload. Will any new resources need to be brought in temporarily?
- Those in your organization who are impacted by this change.
Even changes that should be “seamless” have the potential of creating issues. It is crucial to ensure that end users impacted by the project are well informed and have the tools necessary to navigate the change. Will you need a roll-out process in place by department, or can all end users be implemented at once?
- Those in your organization that should NOT be impacted by the change.
This is often an overlooked, yet very important step in the evaluation process. In many cases, it is the ones we think will not be impacted, who get caught off guard the most. Seemingly simple things can often slip through the cracks if not properly cared for. One example could be a naming convention update for customer type. This change may have impacted an integration workflow for marketing, who was not even considered in the project. Now, marketing has a broken process in their 3rd party prospect software that may take time to even realize.
Adequate and intentional communication will always help any project be successful. Knowing who, what, and when to consider for a new project is key to a successful implementation. A dedicated IT project manager can effectively manage the many variables associated with your projects and drive the right outcomes for your business. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” He knew that the most important part of a project is proper preparation and planning. In our highly connected and fast-paced world where everything is integrated, that sentiment is even more true today.
Are you looking to implement new technologies or processes within your organization? Our IT project management team can help! Please reach out with any questions you may have on how we can help drive the right outcomes across a full spectrum of project types, enabling you to focus on business as usual.
Michael Gray, Project Manager Team Lead, has been with the Project Management Office since August 2017. Prior to joining Systems Engineering, he spent 17 years working in various roles in the banking industry, including project management, technology services coordination, as well as training and development.