User Acceptance Testing can be a daunting and frustrating experience. Too often, the exercise becomes an ordeal of tight deadlines, stress, and system issues. While UAT will always be a high-effort activity, good preparation, responsiveness, and follow-up will multiply your chances of success.Read More
Sure, we all want our IT initiatives to succeed. We regularly evaluate our projects, in-flight or upon completion, looking for tangible lessons to learn. We apply these strategic and tactical takeaways in hopes of increasing the chances of success for each subsequent initiative. We seek approaches that work for different industries, organizations, teams, and technologies.
But looking back at the many IT projects I’ve been a part of in my career, I can’t help but notice a common theme associated with success: people who genuinely care tend to find a way to get it done.Read More
Managing an IT project often requires working with resources across other teams—not just those fully allocated to your initiative. Supporting resources and teams can be important to the success of your project. (Ideally, all the resources you need are fully dedicated to your project. In reality, this isn’t always possible.)
How do you ensure your team can deliver results if you’re dependent on these partially allocated supporting teams?Read More
Organizations tend to divide the same resources over multiple, simultaneous projects and still expect the same level of productivity as if each person were dedicated to just one project.
PMOs, project managers, and resource managers need to reexamine this practice of assigning the same person to two or more projects at once. A project with many or all resources allocated to multiple projects usually run late, creating a ripple effect on all other projects.Read More
There are dozens of definitions for “IT governance” out there. They use words like efficiency, effectiveness, alignment, control, and strategy—which are all valid terms. But the fact is, IT has only so much capacity and can get only so much done. Organizations need a mechanism for agreeing to what is (and what is not) on IT’s plate. That mechanism is IT governance.
The purpose of IT governance is to optimize IT’s workload.
Like most things, the more effort you put into governance, the more you will get out of it. However, IT stakeholders usually have their own areas of responsibility and limited capacity.Read More
Change is HARD. As a matter of fact, I often say “technology is easy, but people are hard.” You can guess the reaction I get from technology-focused individuals when I make this statement. For an organization to grow, be successful, compete, and embrace technology and new processes, change is required.
There are many excuses given for why IT fails to focus on driving change in their organization and across the enterprise? Here are just a few:
- Change is not my job. I am here to deliver technology, not drive change in the enterprise.
- Change is opaque. People are not binary. They have feelings, opinions, and agendas. I do not know how to alter things like mindsets.
- Change is hard to quantify. I can’t tell if change is happening or if I’m making progress toward a desired end state.
Yes, change is hard and often overlooked by IT organizations. But it is required for technology and process adoption and therefore requires dedication in the form of a champion.
Change without a champion is likely to fail.Read More
Communication plans for an IT project might come off as overkill, or even remind you of a nagging parent’s chore chart. In fact, the two organizational methods do have something in common: they tackle and alleviate misalignment. However, unlike helicopter parents, a strong IT project communication plan empowers workers and frees up their time. In an age where 1 in 5 projects are unsuccessful due to ineffective communication, taking the time to plan out and manage communication is crucial.
A successful communication plan ensures that:
- expectations are aligned across the organization;
- project managers have the information they need to guide the project; and
- purposeless meetings are eliminated so that everyone’s time is optimized.
To get started with your Project Management Communication Plan—and increase the chance of project success—make sure you’re prepared to perform the following 6 tasks.Read More
Preface: In a perfect world, key elements like project requirements and execution steps would be issued by a product owner or PM. But the real world is imperfect. What do you do when you find yourself sitting by the side of the road with a flat tire and a bleeding head, reading a manual that suggests you wear a helmet? Such a “best practice” is not very helpful when you’re in the thick of things. This post is written for an imperfect world. I’ll share what I do when reality happens—when I’m floundering for adequate direction, prioritization, or structure.
Here is how, from the chaos of tasks and daily priorities, order is born.
Recently, I found myself simultaneously working on 4 different IT projects (an upgrade, an infrastructure move, and 2 evaluations). Each day, I performed little tasks to move the projects forward, but each time I returned to my desk I kept thinking, “Is this the most important thing to do right now? How close am I to the final goal? Where am I on the map of project progress?” I needed a compass.
The solution I developed took the form of 3 simple lists: Requirements, Issues, and Execution Steps. Let’s explore each in detail.Read More
Of all the posts published in 2017 on the Abraic blog, here were the 10 most popular:Read More
Technology is expected to enhance productivity
Most business cases for technology investments include “productivity gains.” Even when no formal business case is created or communicated, users, managers, and executives implicitly expect that new technology will make their lives better.
However, many organizations spend money on technology as if it were a lottery ticket—hoping they will win. We could consider technology investments to be calculated risks, but, unfortunately, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Most investments in tech turn into mechanical implementation projects that result in more complaints than compliments.
The most common complaint about technology from the user community is that it kills productivity, exactly the KPI it aims to improve. There are two reasons:
- Poor maintenance and support