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IT became “Dirty” Word?
There is very good chance that the majority of the people relying on IT in their firms, felt desire to answer “on Yes”. How one of the industries responsible for many of achievements of our civilisation, became object of such widespread mistrust and cynicism? It is so extended these days to begin a tsunami winging and complaints in the mention of any software of words, hardware, IT. What reason for this type of the relation, and whether really probably to reach “IT a nirvana” in general?
Before to try to provide any offers or answers it can be useful to try and identify some of the reasons which have created this situation first. Usually they change from the project to design, but some general signs, apparently, are present more often than are not present.
While many people can disagree with it, apparently, that the main reason for more than 80 % of all novels of the horrors connected with IT, “the human factor” is. In other words, the technology suffers failure very seldom independently. It is a way by which it is used (the abused?) and expectations have placed on it which create problems and disasters. And whether, as owners of business / managers, we like it or not, the original cause can usually be traced to top.
Leadership is so important in IT projects as it is in any other aspect of business. Leadership refusal is accompanied by inevitably design refusal and, the subsequent, “a witch hunting”.
And in the majority of the companies it is a command of the top management which should take the blame. For the average manager it is much more difficult to receive the same cooperation from various business units than for the senior manager.
Even if the most senior people directly are not involved in the project, they should be accessible time most part. This way any insignificant “deviations” can be established before they become main “deviations”.
Shortage of common sense
For some unknown reason, dealing with IT the connected problems common sense only, apparently, leaves a window. Processes and the criteria used for Different activity or purchase, are ignored, and set of “exotic” approaches with a small business scent are applied. “People in knowledge”, that is technologists, use acronyms and terms which nobody understands. Other people on a command do not wish to lose the face and only to listen to gibberish.
But people of technology it is not better in the decision of business problems. Rather often their centre is first of all on technology, and it is simple enough. Everyone IT projects requirements clearly to define the purposes and deliverables, that is “why” and “that”. “As” requirements to be secondary consideration.
Unfortunately, THIS project management is still some kind of art, instead of a science. Because of high complexity most of all IT assumes that it is very difficult to estimate expenses and durations within the project. The best managers of projects usually come within a range of 10 %. While 10 %, probably, do not seem that is bad, the big problem here consists that people who can reach these levels of accuracy, are the few and is far between.
On the other hand, when the project is underestimated on 50-100 % (there are many enough examples around) as would be the feeling of the manager going to board or bank and asking more of money halfway through the project. Let's appear before it, nobody wishes to be in that situation. Nevertheless, it happens so often.
There is no question which all wish to pay for the small car with 3 cylinders and to receive Rolls Royce. Nevertheless, all of us we know that it is not possible, and after division is far with money we leave in the car which does us happy. Not so, with IT, nevertheless. Each project begins with the big enthusiasm, good intentions and magnificent vision for the future. Sellers represent the products, clients choose the supplier, and performance goes at full speed.
Together with performance, “the project creeps”, goes also at full speed. The new button here, various koler there, and so on. The majority of these changes seems trivial outside. Any who was in IT during some time, nevertheless, knows that some of them can demand, that huge volumes of work have been made. That then follows, is the disappointment, the passed deadlines and the increased prices.
It is unfair to lay blame only on one party, nevertheless. Usually, this situation – result of the main absence of transfer from both parties. Suppliers have a natural aspiration that sverkhobeshchat' and underquote, to receive business. Buyers on the other hand tend to underestimate the size of the majority of projects to correspond within budgets, look better in the opinion of board, etc.
WHAT CAN WE DO WITH IT?
Actually, aforementioned problems can be easier to avoid, than the majority of people trusts. That is necessary, is appropriate preparation, correct people on a command and good communications with other parts of business.
Choose the sponsor. Before the project beginning choose one of the senior managers to become its sponsor. And not only on a paper! The sponsor should be the person which division will benefit directly by the project. It guarantees that they will provide the help when the necessary. If the Director of Marketing is responsible for financial system performance they hardly will pay it the same attention as CFO, for example.
Identify results. Define so objectively as far as possible that can be put is realistic the selected seller based on the assigned budget. If someone arrives to you and suggests to sell to you absolutely new car for 5 000$, it is very improbable that you buy it. It is much more probable that you will think that there is something not so with the car, maybe, it is stolen, or as a result of accident, etc. the Same logic should be applied here. If possible attempt to involve someone with an accounting background.
And, please, to be fair! If the closing price does not allow the seller to get reasonable profit all of them still will make it, taking reductions. And it becomes certain, lose – lose a situation.
Become the vigorous hunter for the information. Try to speak with peers in your industry or the connected associations. Other companies, probably, have carried out recently similar system. In that case will be much, you can study from them. Both, concerning their successes and problems they have faced.
Blogs – other excellent way to reach, receive the information. Find a corresponding blog, and you can be pleasantly surprised, how many people are prepared to divide. It in turn definitely will help you to avoid errors which thousand can cost.
' Manual ' users. As soon as the word is absent about the new project, the avalanche of the user wants, will be created. The majority of them will be the valid business inquiries and should be considered. Some of them, probably, should be left for the following version, and it is always good to judge and identify those in the beginning. However, some of more exotic desires should be preserved immediately. If project cost raises on 10 % only to give to users a choice of change of colour of their buttons of the menu, maybe, they should live with colour by default.
Form a team. Even if the project is completely carried out by the seller there is still a requirement for people of the client there. For smaller projects they can be involved on partially occupied basis. For the big projects it will be completely occupied role for some people. And, ideally, it is more than one person will be involved from the party of the client.
Most important, there should be someone on a command which is “the natural” diplomat, design “envoy” so to say. This person will be communication between the seller and various departments in business. Their technical background not that important, however, their communications and skills of negotiations are extremely important. Inevitably that there will be some misunderstanding between users and the seller. Irrespective of, how much detailed the initial specification was, some things will be interpreted in another way by various people. It is work of “envoy” to smooth these distinctions and, thus, to interfere with the project to take an undesirable management.
THE ENDING THOUGHT…
So, what rather “is a nirvana”? Well, full “nirvana” can be impossible to reach, and not only in IT, but also something close to it seems rather within reach only with several simple steps. When it is approached properly technology can to bring real benefit for any business irrespective of the size or the industry. It can help to operate to all of us more effectively, to compete better and to put the improved products or services to our clients.