When I started Pacific Point, the focus was on helping clients implement large enterprise software solutions in Hawaii. It was a gap I saw in our market that was typically addressed with large consulting firms sending traveling consultants to our expensive tourist destination driving already high bill-rates even higher (Hawaii isn’t cheap, yeah?!). I wanted to help Hawaii-based clients successfully implement large enterprise solutions at competitive rates without compromising on quality and the experience level of the consultants.

We continue hearing about projects in Hawaii (and elsewhere) facing troubles after investing much time and money. Most organizations go through lengthy strategic planning before embarking on these large enterprise projects with objectives of reaching desired states of transforming their business to become more efficient, improving service, and other meaningful objectives. These optimistic project teams end up frustrated because instead of implementing the system they envisioned, they are left with expensive software that is put up on the shelf, or a poor implementation that is referred to internally with not so endearing nicknames. No one wants that; everyone wants to be successful with thier IT projects.

Funny thing is, when you get to the root of why IT projects fail, its rarely the technology. Here are some thoughts on how to make your next project a success.

1. You need a Champion and Decision Maker.

No large enterprise undertakings will get done without executive support, and no progress can be made without decisions by someone having the authority to do so. Ok, next.

2. IT Project Management has to be solid.

Strong IT Project Management is an integral part of Pacific Point’s core capabilities as I am a big believer that without it, enterprise projects are challenged. You need project governance and controls but mostly you need someone experienced at managing large IT projects. Check out my two minute read on IT Project Managers.

3. Methodology is a must.

Strong methodology is another of Pacific Point’s core capabilties because I’ve seen projects struggle and fail due to a lack of an effective methodology or, maybe more frustrating, a lack of knowing how to execute on the methodology. If we’ve worked together, you know that I’m a believer in a business process approach to gathering requirements. It is what I’ve found to be the most effective way to gather requirements and define solution design. When your requirements and design are done right, your technical development, testing, and training phases are so much smoother. Reviewing pretty diagrams of methodologies can make you feel like you covered here. However, the trick is to be confident that the methodology is an approach that will deliver your specific project before you kick off the project, and be sure your project leaders know how to execute on it.

4. Change Management can’t be overlooked.

Change Management is one of the most overlooked aspects of IT Projects. It seems like many organizations view it as a ‘luxury’, a ‘nice-to-have’, so they skimp on it. There are varying degrees of Change Management and Training necessary depending on the project, but generally include communication planning (and execution) to stakeholders and training users and technical teams. I understand budget constraints cause organizations to want to go light here, but consider the higher cost if you don’t do it right during the project implementation — low user adoption, retraining, and retraining. No need to go overboard with creative contests and professional videos. The main thing is to plan for what you need before you start the project and execute on it; Change Management and Training shouldn’t be an after thought.

Here’s to making sure your next project is a success!

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