As a small business owner, you have to wear a lot of hats. One day you’re a sales director, the next you’re a janitor and the next you’re spearheading a new IT project.
With so much on your plate, it may seem like a challenge to make any new initiative successful. But following our IT project tips, you’ll give yourself a better chance at a positive and successful outcome.
Have the right team for the job
The right combination of people can make your IT project sink or swim. Is your in-house team enough to make the project work? Or do you need to hire some outside help?
You may want to consider having a specialist on hand if you’re tackling a really complex project. And we’re not even talking about outsourcing the project. Handing routine maintenance and network support off to someone else will give your in-house IT folks more time to focus on IT projects.
Let someone else do the busy work. Save your stuff for the most important stuff.
Additionally, make sure your IT project team (including your in-house IT person) has the skill set to cover everything the project requires.
And don’t forget that too many cooks spoil the meal. Large teams are much harder to coordinate. Plus, trying to accommodate everyone’s ideas and opinions can be a challenge. Some top companies believe that teams of 6-10 people (enough people to eat two pizzas) are the most effective.
Don’t let the project become meetings only
Meetings about the progress and milestones of an IT project are important, but keep them short.
Plenty of people have had the experience of being on a project that was all meetings and no action. It won’t shock you to learn that this is not a very effective strategy for getting things done.
In order to keep your project on track for milestones, you’ll need meetings that meet two requirements. They need to be short (we covered that) and they need to be frequent. Supplement meetings with open group communication channels, like Slack, and a robust project management software to keep everyone updated.
Documentation is king
At the beginning of your IT project, you will probably have some type of written project plan. However, that’s going to change. (IT projects almost always evolve as they move forward.)
Every time something within the project is adjusted, write it down. You’re not going to be able to remember every single change when everything’s said and done. Accurate documentation will ensure that you know how to work with your new IT project when the project is complete.
Flexibility is key in IT project management.
Sure, you have an initial vision of how it’s going to go. But like we covered in the section above, new developments can affect the scope of the whole project. Anything from new technology to network limitations to budgetary restraints can force you to adjust an IT project, even after it’s underway.
You need to keep an open mind. The important thing is that you get an end result that meets your company’s needs. There are likely many ways to get there. The exact path (and your initial plan) aren’t the most important thing.
Engage an IT project expert
Finally, if all this IT project management talk is making you nervous or if you’re about to tackle a particularly complex IT project, you may want to consider enlisting the help of an IT project expert. Every project doesn’t call for that level of planning and coordination, but some of them most certainly do.
Think of it this way. While getting expert help isn’t free, compare the expense to the pain and cost of redoing the entire IT project if it doesn’t go well the first time.
Suddenly a little help doesn’t sound so bad, right?