Revitalized IT Project Management: Baby Steps and Celebrating Successes

Revitalizing IT project management is an exciting prospect. It’s tempting to jump right into changing everything about the way your organization handles its IT projects, now that you know a better way to do it. But launching into a full-scale revamp runs the risk of burning out your staff, frustrating your clients, exhausting your resources. You could end up worse than where you started.

When it comes to any organizational change, there’s nothing wrong with baby steps. It’s often a better approach than ‘eating the entire elephant’ at once. Smaller steps let your staff, stakeholders, and clients ease into a new way of doing things. You can also take the opportunity to debrief after incremental changes, taking note of what is going right, and adjusting what isn’t hitting the mark.

There is a lot to celebrate in taking baby steps! Check out how these other organizations have made small strides toward a total revitalization, and the reasons they have to celebrate.

Case Study: Starting from Scratch

While not focused on IT project management specifically, this company is an excellent example of taking things slowly with project management for ultimate success. The organization started without any real project management practices in place and the organization was suffering.

The small steps began with a presentation that reintroduced the idea of project management methodology, going back to the basics. People within the organization felt they had a better understanding of project management. They noted that after a year, they were still moving forward and projects were running better. It goes to show that even if you don’t have any project management practices in place at all, it’s a good idea to get a strong understanding of how it all works before making big decisions.

Case Study: Waiting to Include Customers

The IT department of the government offices in Pinellas County, Florida, was known for delivering projects late and over budget. They needed a new approach, as the department started losing contracts.

After an assessment showed what the organization needed to improve, they made a lot of progress in just eight months. Prioritizing initiation, scheduling, resource management, project closing, and project execution, the IT department saw evidence of change, after which they dug in by taking their improved process to clients. They followed up with a third assessment the next year that showed even more transformation. Better yet, IT professionals were holding themselves to a higher standard.

If the IT department had gone straight to including clients and trying to fix every single thing they had done poorly at the start, it would have been overwhelming. It may well have frustrated clients further. Instead, they took the small step of figuring out their top priorities for revitalization, showed that they could improve, then brought customers into the loop once they could prove the organization’s dedication.

Case Study: Planning for a Multi-Year Project

This example centers on Procter & Gamble, a major global company that was working with a 20-year-old ordering, shipping, and billing system. That outdated system was at the core of P&G’s business. Any error in the IT project of updating could be catastrophic.

Instead of rushing through the project, the company planned for a multi-year project, working to make the most of a system upgrade to minimize lost sales, create efficiencies, and cut costs overall. It took more work, and more time, than opting for a simple upgrade or trying to move the project faster than it should go. Taking baby steps can be an excellent choice, however, even when they take years at a time. According to P&G, the planning and preparation process took almost half the time of the entire project.

It’s also important to note that P&G, at this point, had over 70 smaller IT-related projects under their belts, working up to something on the scale of the multi-year endeavor. This gave the company internal knowledge on which they could draw, alongside their work researching other companies’ implementations, and what they learned reaching out to retailers.

In the end, P&G significantly improved their internal systems, without customers experiencing any impact. It took a few years to get it done, but that slow and steady approach was well worth it. Keep an eye out for the next article in our Revitalized Project Management series. We’ll talk about your game plan. By the end, you will know how you can put your organization’s ideas into specific goals, metrics, and timelines that will turn your revitalization plan into reality.

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