The 5 pitfalls of IT projects
Due to the increased complexity, high demands and speedy decisions, we sometimes tend to get lost in translation. So it’s really key to stay focused and be aware of possible risks that can occur during the course of an IT project. Being aware implies that you are familiar with the most common pitfalls of projects.
1. The importance of the pre-contractual phaseThe pre-contractual phase is the foundation upon which projects are built. This is the time to check whether we are confronted with quicksand upon which we cannot build anything. After all, no-one wants to live in a house that is inhabitable.
You can overcome this pitfall by inviting a multidisciplinary team of people. This will give you a more complete and critical view on all pre-contractual documentation (which serves as the basis for the contract).
• Initiate a lively discussion on the feasibility of the requested project
• Invest sufficient time in reviewing all documents
2. Good communication is as stimulating as black coffeeToo often, project teams are left out of the procurement phase. The result? They end up inheriting someone else’s mess.
Whenever the sales department receives an interesting RFP, it should be customary to immediately have the relevant project team/manager review in depth the technical requirements as put forward by the customer.
Sales and project managers should communicate on a daily basis before and during the project.
3. The collaboration between service provider and clientMost likely, the customer will have to do a few things as well before a service provider can deliver its services. Customer responsibilities should therefore be highlighted and formalized during the negotiations. It’s key that customers provide their service providers with all the information and assistance required to deliver the project(s).
Being in sync with your customer from the very beginning will enable both to enjoy a synergetic and productive project!
4. Poor project managementOK. So the contract is signed, the deal is closed, management is happy, expectations are high. What could possibly go wrong? Well, I probably can write a novel or two about the things that can go wrong due to poor project management. But much of it can be overcome by investing adequate time in setting up a good project management plan and clarifying the different roles and responsibilities.
It’s not only comforting to have an overview of responsibilities, governance and dispute resolution flows, a history of strategic decision-making, change requests, … it also strengthens your position when disputes occur.
5. Challenge your clientCustomers need to be clear about the outcome they seek. One cannot expect a service provider to be ‘madame soleil’. By challenging assumptions and beliefs, not just at the start but also throughout the project, many misconceptions can be identified and defused in a timely manner.
Also invest sufficient time in good communication, collaboration and a consistent follow-up throughout the project. After all, no-one wants to end up with a small cabin build upon a solid foundation!