Implementing new technology is an exciting opportunity for businesses wanting to make meaningful improvements across their organisations. The benefits are both tangible and intangible, including improved capability, reduced costs, increased efficiency, and better decision-making.

However, the true value of these investments is only realised when organisational change is effectively managed as the project ends.

All too often, project teams and operational teams find themselves at odds, with competing goals and priorities. This disconnect stems from a lack of three things: clear communication, shared understanding, and alignment between project goals and what the end users want and need. It can lead to delays or even complete derailment of implementations. Zetta Infrastructure Specialist Joe Davies has experienced this firsthand.

“We were bought into a project for a client who had spent months in development. Everything was going well, testing was going well, but when they went to implement, the business threw them a massive curve ball. Suddenly the project plan went out the window,” Joe said.

“They asked us to help them get things back on track.”

This isn’t a new problem, but it’s one that persists. To increase the success of IT projects and their long-term impact on the business, consider the following strategies:

Align Project Goals with Customer Needs

Ensuring that project goals, scope, budget, and quality requirements are closely aligned with customer needs from the outset is paramount. This alignment sets the foundation for a successful change management process and ensures the project delivers tangible value to the business.

Bridge the Gap Between Project and Operational Teams

Having a champion who keeps things flowing between project teams and the customer is essential. These ‘fixers’ understand the organisation’s culture, processes, and pain points, and are often an invaluable source of information about how to get things done efficiently.

“Having someone who has knowledge of all of the frameworks, controls, change management and even the personalities required to facilitate change is invaluable,”

“Your project timelines are protected, and everything becomes much easier because you know the internal lead times for making required changes to the existing systems,” Joe said.

“It ends up with the planning side of the project being much more accurate. It beats taking an educated guess based on how long you think it would take.”

Establish Regular Steering Committee Meetings

Implementing a regular cadence for steering committee meetings is crucial for proactively managing risks and issues before they compromise project outcomes. These meetings create an opportunity for open discussions, joint decision-making, and course corrections.

While it can seem counterproductive to open your project timeline to outside influences, it’s beneficial in the long run. When the people who will actually use the new technology – the end user – is left out of the project, unforeseen problems can arise. End user involvement in the steering committee is invaluable to the success of a project.

“If you present the project plan to a steering committee from the start, you get a good understanding where the speed bumps are going to occur and who’s likely to raise objections. It will prepare you for the rest of the journey of the project,” Joe said.

Small changes to scope are much more cost-effective to address during the project than after implementation. Continual collaboration with your end users ensures the project is aligned with business objectives and meets the expectations of the people who will be using it.

Encourage Open Communication and Transparency

Collaboration with your end users throughout design and development also allows you to get early buy-in and build enthusiasm for your project. Providing regular updates, organising Q&A sessions, and asking for feedback not only keeps all stakeholders informed but also promotes accountability and trust.

Understand Change Management and Handover Processes

Navigating the organisation’s change management and handover processes is essential for third-party contractors or external consultants. This ensures a smooth transition from project implementation to ongoing operations, increasing the likelihood of future engagements.

Knowing who to engage during the handover process can make a huge difference to the success or failure of a project. This may include finding a new advocate or champion in the organisation who will continue to support the new changes long after the project is complete.

“Once you’ve handed it over, the changes should be self-sustaining and maintained by the people who you handed it over to,” Joe said.

By implementing these best practices, organisations can significantly improve the chances of project success and maximise the return on their technology investments. Change is a continuous process, and effective change management is the key to unlocking the full potential of new solutions and driving lasting business value.

Take the next step to successful projects

If you’d like to discuss how our experienced team can help manage change and ensure successful project outcomes, please reach out for a consultation. Together we can bridge the gap between projects and operations, ensuring a seamless transition and maximising the value of your technology investments.