Back to school, fall colors and pumpkin spice everything. Those are all signs that fall is arriving, and we are heading into Q4 of the calendar year. It is also the time that organizations realize that they may miss their annual IT project goals.
In this blog, we will look at why IT project goals are missed and provide advice from the MainSpring Team.
Why IT goals are missed
In September, many organizations go through the process of planning for the following calendar year. Goals are outlined and budgets are submitted, reviewed, and hopefully approved. The desperate borate their staff for numbers and smatter the internet with requests for proposals all in hopes of simplifying the budgeting cycle and making the holiday season all that less stressful.
(While I am writing this blog in September, you will find that many of the tips and resources are valuable for decision making at any time, particularly since fiscal years and budget cycles vary)
Post-budget cycle, some organizations simultaneously conduct a review of the previous year. They measure success on how accurate they were on their numbers the year before, meetings with endless retrospectives on how they can do better and sometimes technology solutions (Microsoft Planner, Trello, Asana, Microsoft Project) enter the mix as silver bullet solutions with no willing product owner to run with them. And the cycle begins all over again.
Could the problem be the model, and not the tool or the people? Here are a few reasons that I’ve heard from agencies and organizations in the DMV regions as to why they believe their technology goals went array.
- “Emergency and hot projects push everything else to the bottom of the list”
- Operations (staying afloat) came before technology/security (link to article)
- Poor time management by team leaders
- Lack of communication between the IT team and other company or agency divisions
If you are active on LinkedIn, you have no doubt read many blogs that address missed goals. One that caught our attention states that you must put the right heads into the proper hats.
Perhaps, there is a fifth reason that your project slipped behind schedule. Maybe you needed to ensure that the right heads are in the IT hats.
Evaluate your IT team now
It has been almost twenty months since we all first heard about COVID-19. Indeed, that was an emergency that pushed everything else lower on the list. As most of us return to a hybrid work environment, it is time to re-focus and evaluate.
It is September. Again. It is time to start planning for the following year. Again.
It is also time to look at your IT team and project list. Of course, the best-laid plans, and the way we prefer to do it is to continuously curate the list to make planning easy, disciplined, and methodological. But without a system like that I know many are stuck starting with a blinking cursor and filling in spreadsheets. Whether you have an in-house IT team or an IT services provider, now is the time to evaluate and ensure that you have the suitable heads in the hats.
Recently, MainSpring’s Senior Technology Advisor Amer Yaqub published a blog, Rate your IT managed services provider. In his experience, Amer provides six categories to score your IT service provider. You’ll find the blog helpful, whether you have an in-house team or have hired a contractor.
In this blog, two culprits for delaying an IT project are highlighted, time management issues and communication roadblocks.
Time management issues: the problem that multiplies
Time management issues may stem from too much on one’s plate or overbooking. Usually, there’s a root cause, an approach to personal daily routines that feeds this monster. As some employees may have decided not to return to work or have cut their hours, other staff have become overbooked.
Time management problems at your organization may be the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If COVID is the culprit, re-hiring staff may solve the problem.
But, here are a few other reasons behind time management issues:
- Low motivation. We all need to note that the past twenty months have taken a toll on employee motivation. Zoom fatigue has entered the Urban Dictionary for a reason. It’s real and people are working longer hours with seemingly no end in sight.
- Lack of delegation. It is time for business leaders to remind everyone of the benefits of delegating tasks. Are your employees shouldering too much responsibility? Are leaders managing or leading?
- Lack of organization. Frankly, organization skills went on the back burner at many businesses as everyone shifted to Work from Home (WFH). It may be time to provide tools and a refresher course.
In-house communication problems
Ask your IT team if they are waiting for data, protocols, or SOPs from other managers or teams within your organization. Communication pitfalls always slow the progress of any IT project.
As you review your current list of IT goals, you may find that your IT team is waiting on others in your organization. They have hit a wall.
Before moving forward with goals for the next year, it is essential to find out why this year’s projects have lagged behind schedule. If the stall is due to in-house communication problems, it is time to get communication channels re-established. It is time to re-set expectations.
Consider hiring a technology services provider
As you evaluate your current IT team, you may find it is time to hire a technology services provider (internal link). A contractor can take over and implement one technology project, provide a virtual CIO or even act as your technology team.
A technology services provider has a thumb on the latest trends, knows how to manage project timetables, and will create communication channels.
MainSpring is a technology services provider in the DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia regions. Contact us to review your technology needs. How can we help you now and next year to simplify your life?