Despite your best intentions, not every IT project will be a resounding success. In fact, most miss their promised mark. BDG finds that 70% of digital transformations fall short of their intended objective, and CISQ notes that unsuccessful IT and software projects put a $260 billion dent in the U.S. economy. Even with the risk, the potential reward is worth the effort – if you create a roadmap for success and avoid the most common pitfalls.
When we’ve spoken with customers who encountered difficulties in their IT project implementations, a few common threads emerged. Here are the hard lessons they learned that can help you maximize your IT ROI. Plus, we’re also including a few reasons why working an IT staffing services partner like Capstone IT can avoid these problems from the start.
1.) Lack of Communication
Clear communication is a simple element of a project that when missing can result in catastrophic failure. Think of an engine without a fan belt. The crankshaft and alternator might be working fine, but without the engine cooling fan running in synchronization, your engine will burn out fast. IT projects can similarly break down if communication isn’t connecting all the moving parts of your project.
A mobile development team might excel at delivering code during their sprints, but their output may miss the mark if they haven’t spent time talking to BAs to learn end user pain points or requirements. Your cloud engineer might have deep insight into legacy migrations but may fail to achieve full results if they do not consult your systems or network administrator about your current infrastructure. Your team needs to be well-versed in maintaining communication, or you need a stakeholder willing to take charge of this process.
One solution is to hire professionals with DevOps experience. This set of practices is devoted to creating cohesion across all phases of the development lifecycle. People with DevOps experience approach problems from a holistic perspective, eliminating siloed thinking in favor of collaboration across disciplines (if you are looking for ways to improve your success, here are some tips for DevOps recruiting).
Hiring an experienced project manager can achieve similar results. Think of it this way: though an orchestra will have pockets of strong performances on their own, the audience receives a better experience when the conductor is there to dictate tempo and volume from the whole. In a sense, that’s what the Project Manager does, coordinating all those moving parts and maintaining harmony as they push projects toward the finish line.
2.) Inadequate Upfront Preparation
With the complexity and expense associated with IT projects, it’s very easy for them to spiral out of control from a scope or budgetary standpoint. If your organization spends insufficient time defining objectives, capturing user requirements, identifying inevitable challenges, establishing the right success criteria, allocating proper resources, or any other step, you may easily falter.
In this instance, it’s useful to incorporate the proper analysts upfront. By reviewing processes, identifying requirements, and providing data-driven insight, BAs can enhance your foundation and lay the tracks that will prevent your mobile app, digital transformation, or other IT project from going off the rails.
Before you engage in any IT project, coordinating your IT solutions with your staffing partner can be helpful. Capstone IT always prioritizes the primary needs of our customers during the requirements gathering phase, ensuring we present people who can deliver at the level you need. That way, you can pinpoint your exact needs without second guessing yourself.
3.) Out-of-Control Scope Creep
Even if you have a clear foundation, it can be tempting to expand your vision as you and your team immerse yourselves in the actual work. What may have started off as a business case for data migration might turn into an elaborate data cleansing and data quality management project. Or an internal application development project might present an opportunity to create a customer-facing project. Though tantalizing as they may be, these instances of scope creep may slow down the overall delivery and cause a massive spike in expenses.
From the start, it’s vital to have a well-defined scope with clear documentation that has been thoroughly reviewed to ensure what you are pursuing is what you need. Even in the instance of change (you can’t anticipate everything), there needs to be proper change control processes to prevent any project addendums from getting out of hand. Plus, you can always revisit an additional project later once you have your initial use case in hand.
Hiring project managers, even on a temporary basis, can provide your business with an experienced professional who can keep the project on track. When the sole focus is on the completion of predetermined deliverables within the outlined schedule and budget, it’s easier to stay true to the original scope. With our experience as an IT solutions company, we are well-versed at picking leaders who can keep a firm grip on the project ahead and connecting clients with professionals willing to take ownership.
4.) Open Source Tool Challenges
The ability to accelerate development objectives, achieve more with a lower investment, and create high-quality software makes open source tools an asset for most organizations. Why homebrew all the different elements of your application when you can stand on the shoulders of giants and deliver top results?
However, there can be a challenge with open source technology, since eliminating bugs prior to launch is less of an issue within the community. The idea is that given enough time and enough peer reviews, the open source project will eventually be rid of those bugs. That can work to keep your software constantly improving, but you must be willing to deal with issues in the short term that can jeopardize your performance or even sabotage your security.
Organizations using open source technology need a blend of top software engineers and cybersecurity specialists to implement these components and audit the final product for vulnerabilities and bugs. On the software engineer side, you’ll need to find the scarce talent that understands open source tools and can integrate them with the variety of other technologies you use in ways that benefit your business objectives. On the cybersecurity side, you’ll need specialists who are familiar with common issues across your desired open source technology and know how to mitigate issues to protect your business and sensitive data. Together, they’ll help you deliver secure and profitable code that achieves your desired results.
5.) Legacy Systems Flaws
Some organizations are attached to the tools that they have used for a long time and feel they function properly to work within their needs. However, there are usually a lot of complicated workarounds required to keep these legacy systems functioning at full capacity. As a result, your digital transformation or new application can be hindered if you are trying to connect APIs to outdated systems or if you have not updated the underlying operating system or overall code of your long-running platform.
Often, these types of challenges require the guidance of professionals who are scarce on the market. Here’s an example. One of our customers needed to revamp their sales platform and operating system so it would no longer be a bottleneck during their customer experience. Understanding that legacy app modernization required the right personnel in the precise quantities, Capstone IT was able to find a hard-to-find group of tech professionals with AS/400, Java, and Linux experience who could deliver on the customer’s vision. The results surpassed their wildest expectations.
Though the people you will need for a given project will vary, it’s essential to hunt down IT talent with the right understanding of your legacy systems. Otherwise, you might have someone who can at best stumble through the process, hindering your results and drawing out the final output.
Hiring the Right IT Talent When You Need Them
It shouldn’t be a surprise that most of the reasons why your IT projects are failing circle back to your ability to find and hire the right caliber of technical talent. Whether on a permanent or contract basis, it’s the dedicated work of top IT professionals that will bring each project across the finish line and prevent you from accruing additional unwanted costs.
Yes, you can hunt for talent on your own, but why slow down your process dealing with the challenges of the current marketplace? Working with the right IT staffing provider now can help you to move forward with IT projects, hitting your objective within your target budget without all the extra struggles.
Want to know why IT projects still fail? The Capstone IT team can help you to determine why your IT projects are failing and who you can hire to make the difference.