15 January 2019
No more fails. What makes a successful IT project?
The 21st century is, without a doubt, the information age where anyone can become an entrepreneur. In order to make it in an extremely competitive market, you need not only an outstanding idea but also the appropriate project management. Even the Nobel Prize-worthy product is not going to sell itself. So what is the key to a successful IT project? Let’s find out!
Dream big and think ahead
On a daily basis, millions of start-ups are being set up, mostly in the information technology sector. Numerous companies are willing to provide newcomers with whatever they need, starting with easy access to financing. The only thing required is this revolutionary one-of-a-kind idea that will conquer the world. I bet all of those novice start-ups dreams of a successful project and joining the lucky blessing of tech unicorns.
Unfortunately, according to IT industry statistics – about 90% of them is going to fail, never to come back to the market again.
One of the most common reasons is the lack of preparation to address any of the target groups’ needs. Usually, one major mistake like this will lead to a company’s fall and leaving the world without a chance to learn about the entrepreneur’s brilliant idea.
You’d think that IT-related industry shark tank might be different. When it comes to companies with an already established market position, the situation is not always great either. In order to remain competitive, they need to constantly adjust their products/services and adapt to new rules imposed by the ever-changing business environment. To do so, they launch projects targeted externally or at the organization itself, which allows them to change relatively quickly and helps them to avoid dropping out from the race for customer’s attention. In this case, the consequences of potential failure are usually not associated with total disappearance from the market. However, they could lead to a major loss of the company’s value.
Good ideas are dying, because their creators don’t listen to their target groups, don’t invest in modern technologies and neglect to follow market trends. When asked why a given company didn’t deliver, it is not an isolated voice in the crowd that says “because it wasn’t a successful IT project.” The project team has done everything it was supposed to, so how did it happen?
How to make a successful project?
You probably know that from the Project Manager’s point of view, a project is successful when a specific scope is delivered within a given time schedule and budget, with all the quality requirements met. Here is when we need to introduce two important terms: deliverables and objectives.
The beforementioned scope could be described as deliverables – tangible things that the project will produce, in order to make the desired outcome (known as objective) achievable. The objective must define benefits and performance improvements that are expected from the project.
In contrary to the deliverables, the outcome will have a direct impact on the company’s condition. Even the most sophisticated software implemented successfully will not be received positively by CEOs, CTOs, and their associates, if they are not able to enjoy the full benefits of the delivered solution.
Still, too many people confuse the two. The project team is rarely aware of the business’ intentions, acknowledging only the products that need to be delivered. When asked for the project’s objective, the team’s answer would probably be a list of features planned for development. The software is only a deliverable, a tangible product, it’s not the reason why this project got a green light in the first place.
On the other hand, the customer will judge the project’s success in terms of the expected outcome that was the intention of launching the project in the first place; not the results of the team’s work. Sometimes it is simply impossible to achieve the desired business objective by implementing and using the designed product. It can result in the frustration of both parties – the team won’t get the appreciation they deserve, and customers won’t get what they were hoping for.
So what should you do in order to ensure the alignment of deliverables and objectives?
Discover and define
Among the IT industry companies, there is a visible trend of paying more and more attention to the business analysis, and when it comes to the product itself – putting more emphasis on the User Experience design. The former allows to define the organization’s needs and recommends possible solutions that will deliver value to stakeholders. The latter ensures that the designed product will be adjusted to the end users’ needs, and maximizes the overall benefits of exploiting it.
It is obvious that companies know their business better than anyone else. Although, it is very dangerous to assume that management always has all the answers, especially when it comes to the needs of their customers or even their own. It is not hard to find an organization with the already-existing idea of the desired product that turns down any major suggestions because they could distort the company’s vision of the product. This is why product owners and managers often skip the analysis part of a project and get the product they imagined as soon as possible.
Whatever you do, surround yourself with smart people who may have some good insights or constructive criticisms. It is worth confronting your idea with someone from the outside, who has nothing to do with the project whatsoever. Especially if they can provide you with some fresh ideas or notice something that everyone else has missed before. This is why more and more large organizations decide to use the services of outsourcing consulting companies that help them understand the needs of all parties involved in a project and properly address them.
Do IT with a partner
This is one of the main ideas behind The Software House. We provide you with complex service and assistance throughout the whole project. Even though our main strength is top-notch software development, we are aware of the importance of properly defined deliverables that align with the company’s objectives. We are willing to help you get there through dedicated workshops with our specialists, business analysts and user experience designers. Even after the project is done, we lean towards keeping a long-term relationship and provide you with professional support whenever you need it.
With dozens of successful IT projects in our award-winning portfolio, The Software House is there to assist you and your company. We know you’d rather see your unique idea executed correctly. You have one chance to launch it, so don’t miss out on your once in a lifetime opportunity. In case of emergency: contact us!