The Key to IT Project Success for SMBs

IT MANAGEMENT | 7 MIN READ


 
 Photo by rawpixel

Photo by rawpixel

 
 

Successfully delivering on projects that create business value can be challenging for businesses of all sizes. For small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), technology-related projects in particular have difficulty meeting expectations, being on time and on budget. But, it is essential that these strategic IT investments deliver in order for SMBs to achieve and sustain growth.

Projects incorporating new technologies into your business can be financially burdensome and require a framework to ensure resources are being used effectively. But there is nothing simple about implementing these measures — IT projects, in general, are infamous for dragging on and going over budget. Because of multiple changes in the original scope of IT projects, as well as project closure and post-review activities not taking place, many projects are left 95% completed: The 95% Syndrome.

Why do IT projects still fail?

The Project Management Institute’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession report, surveying 3000 project management professionals, found that more than one in four strategic initiatives overseen by survey respondents were classified as outright failures. Why? The survey found a lack of clearly defined and/or achievable milestones and objectives to measure progress as the primary cause of failure (37%), followed by poor communication (19%), lack of communication by senior management (18%), employee resistance (14%) and insufficient funding (9%). 

Businesses in general can fall victim to jumping the gun when it comes to an IT project only to realize that the project objectives are not in alignment with the key project stakeholders requirements or expectations of the project. But with businesses dying faster than ever, being innovative and adapting to new technology has never been more important. So how do SMBs set themselves up for success when it comes to embarking on IT changes and enhancements? They start by investing in effective IT Project Portfolio Management. 

SMBs can save time and money with this free IT project portfolio tool.

 
 

The Key to IT Project Success for SMBs


Project Portfolio Management 

IT Project Portfolio Management, or PPM, is the centralized management of all IT projects in an organization. The purpose is to effectively prioritize projects, plan and resource them strategically, monitor their performance, and keep all involved parties informed through reporting and dashboarding.  

 Project Dashboard in Smartsheet

Project Dashboard in Smartsheet

 
 

Things are Moving Fast

To thrive in a competitive landscape, businesses need to innovate and quickly change course with the introduction of disruptive technology. The pace at which the technology environment changes is staggering; you must adapt to survive. 

Regardless of what area of your business you are innovating, careful planning, execution and alignment with business goals is required for success. With thousands of businesses entering and leaving the market, it is important that the right IT projects are prioritized. 


How to Succeed

From poor communication to a lack of clearly defined milestones and objectives, how do businesses avoid the common pitfalls of IT project management?  

Use a Project Tracker or Project Portfolio Dashboard

A project tracker or project portfolio dashboard provides management and additional stakeholders with a high-level view of current resource allocation, risks, scheduling, and the overall status of your ongoing projects. When used properly, these resources provide transparency on projects, ensuring everyone is aligned as to the progression, timeline, and obstacles of a project at any given time. This ensures that if the project strays away from the business’s strategic objectives, management can respond instantaneously – addressing project risk and capitalizing on any new opportunities.

IT Directorship™ Note: The most important aspect of a project is to create value in line with the business strategy.

6 Ways Project Portfolio Management Adds Business Value

  1. Project Prioritization

    Provides a platform to strategically decide in what order the organization should take on project investments. 

  2. Project Performance

    Improves the overall delivery of projects, success rate, and project turnaround times through effective project governance. 

  3. Risk Optimization

    Reduces the likelihood of negative project outcomes by communicating project-related risks in a timely manner, decreasing the likelihood of bigger project delay, and increasing transparency and trust with business stakeholders.

  4. Strategic Planning and Financial Forecasting

    Provides information for strategic steering, budgeting, and return on investment (ROI) analysis. 

  5. Resource Optimization

    Optimizes project resource utilization across the enterprise reducing duplicate efforts on activities with no business benefit.  

  6. Stakeholder Transparency

    Ensures key project sponsors have overall awareness on project portfolio performance to help make better business decisions.


What's Next? The Iron Triangle

Through the effective use of a dashboard (or project tracker), your business can identify which projects are on track and which need realignment. At high maturity, your company will see more projects completed in line with the business strategy and exist within the iron triangle: scope, time, and cost.  

Project Portfolio Dashboards enable project managers and coordinators to better allocate their own time between multiple projects while also improving communication with stakeholders. Key stakeholders are informed on the status of each project and are more engaged in seeing them succeed. Regardless of size or maturity, all businesses can benefit from leveraging a project portfolio management framework to maximize their investment and improve the overall success rate of IT projects. 


Need help managing your IT projects through business change? IT Directorship works within SMBs to identify project objectives and milestones, prioritize, control costs, and engage stakeholders throughout the project life cycle.