IT project management: 4 stages you must explore before integrating new technology into your business
Project management is a large and fascinating field. It supports the growth of countless enterprises globally. But there’s a scarier side to it; the side that most businesses would rather not talk about: the losses of failed IT project management endeavours. According to the Project Management Institute, the average large IT project runs 45% over budget, 7% over time, and delivers 56% less value than expected.
As a finance executive, you’re likely to be faced with proposals for new technology that will help you generate more revenue for your organisation. In most cases, the ideas presented may seem out of reach, some even fanciful, but there will be those that stick.
Before IT project management starts
This blog post is all about how to determine which of the ideas you like should get your hard-earned budget and which should not make the cut.
What follows is a basic framework that comprises four stages that you must explore before you integrate new technology into your business.
1. Produce a project proposal
The project proposal is a high-level overview of the project. The project proposal is necessary because it helps you create an overall plan to set the tone for what needs to be achieved, such as:
- Project environment – this would be the kinds of technology in place, the hardware that will support it and more
- Potential implementation challenges
- The project deliverables
The format of a typical project proposal includes an introduction, motivation, project summary, project details, conclusions and references.
2. Create a business case
According to Capterra, over 25% of companies don’t conduct a strategic review to identify how a proposed project will benefit the business.
Research also shows that only 56% of strategic initiatives achieve their original goals and business intent. Of the 56%, 44% of the initiatives carried out were unsuccessful, with reasons for failure ranging from a lack of executive support to a lack of focus on key initiatives and projects that are strategically relevant, and the lack of skills and/or personnel for effective strategy rollout.
This is why creating a clear business case is important. Your business case is the justification for the project and emphasis is given to the benefits thereof. This includes:
- A strategic case – the background of the project and why it is required
- An options appraisal – which alternatives have been examined and chosen
- The expected benefits – the benefits your business will see from the successful completion of the project along with any unavoidable disbenefits
- The commercial aspects – the costs (of resources) and funding options available
- Potential risk – the risks and their impact on the business case
- Timeframe – an overview of outputs and when benefits will be realised by your business.
3. Assess the proposed project
According to a survey conducted by Geneca, nearly 45% of the respondents admitted that the business objectives of their IT projects were unclear. Assessing your proposed project is therefore a necessary first step.
Once your project has made it past the business case phase, you’ll need to determine whether it should be added to the list of projects that your business will consider assigning a priority to.
Assessing proposed projects involves the use of an objective assessment criteria, which includes determining whether:
- The project will produce a positive return on investment
- The project aligns with your IT technology roadmap
- The project is associated with your business’s strategic objectives
- Corporate risk can be identified and mitigated.
4. Assign priority to the project
If your project makes it this far, the next step is to determine what priority your organisation should assign to it. In any given financial year, businesses run multiple projects; however, they only run the projects that align with their strategic goals at that point in time.
If your project makes the top of the list, then your next step is to assign it to your project management office. In the case where your business doesn’t have a designated project management team, outsourcing the work would be your next port of call.
Ensuring that your projects are viable from the start is an important aspect of growing revenue for your business. Using project proposals, business cases, assessments and a priority grading system will help your business make informed decisions about which technology aligns with your business’s strategic goals.
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