Once you decide to start a technology project you have an idea of when you would like the work to be done and how much you are expecting to spend. However, like most major projects, without proper planning and communication schedules can get seriously off track, costing you time and money you didn’t anticipate. From purchasing new computers to migrating to the cloud, IT projects are essential to your organization’s operations, making it even more important that they go well. We’ve gathered a few tips from our team about planning and executing successful technology projects.
1. Set expectations
If you’re working with your own IT department, an outside provider on a contract, or some combination of the two, it is essential that you sit down with the IT experts who are doing the project work to make clear exactly what you are looking for and what your budget is. At Tech Networks of Boston, our senior engineer and project teams sit down with clients, both existing and new, before any new project begins to get a better sense of their needs and challenges. This lets our IT experts and our clients determine the right solution, create a timeline, and address any challenges or costs that may come up. The engineers who sit down for these meetings are often the same people completing the work, which helps as they communicate with the client throughout the duration of the project.
2. Reconcile the scope, budget, and time frame
Timing and cost are probably the two most important factors for any organization looking to begin an important project. Using their expertise, our engineers can determine accurate and cost-effective budgets based on the complexity of your project. We work with our sales, engineer, and procurement teams to ensure that we provide accurate time and cost estimates to clients. This allows TNB and client stakeholders to be aligned on expectations and be in sync from the beginning of the engagement.
3. Anticipate the unknown
While this seems like an impossible goal, it just requires patience and care throughout the project process. Many IT projects are related to infrastructure, and often your team of experts will not have prior access to things like servers or third-party data systems. Your engineer will make assumptions about potential issues based on their past experience, but it is impossible to know every problem that will arise once work begins. Understanding that there needs to be room for discovery and complications helps you react in real-time during the project so that adjustments can be made.
4. Build in a buffer period
When timeframes are strict, and short, it can be incredibly stressful if something goes wrong or an unexpected delay comes up. When you’re working with your IT team make sure you add in some “just in case” time to your estimate. You’re likely starting this project because you’re experiencing problems with your current technology, and if you discover that the problem is bigger or more complicated than anticipated, you’ll be grateful for the extra time to resolve it.
5. Communication is key
Finding unexpected problems or setbacks in the middle of a project can lead to stressful conversations, both for you and the engineers completing the work. To make the entire project process easier, keeping the lines of communication open is essential. This will ensure that clients and engineers can share updates on progress, timing, and any other factors that may impact work. Information sharing keeps everyone on the same page, which can turn potential disasters into small bumps in the road and will keep the project on track.
Technology projects can greatly improve your organization’s ability to do work or keep costs down. For these projects to be successful, its important that you work closely with your team of technology experts to set expectations, determine the appropriate scope and budget, prepare for the unexpected, schedule enough time, and communicate openly about the project while its ongoing. These steps will help you during project planning and execution.
If you need help with an upcoming IT project, please contact us. Tech Networks of Boston has over 25 years of IT experience and expertise.
This post was originally published in August 2017 by Tyrone McIntosh, it has been updated as of September 18, 2020.