Random Ramblings of a Microsoft Guy

Microsoft Cloud, Automation, Manageability, Virtualization, and whatever else that comes to mind..

My Take: What Makes an IT Project Successful?

And so it begins….

 As I begin this very first Blog post, I had thought about writing about many different topics.  I had considered starting with a simply technical post with maybe some script code or a technical thought.  Instead, I decided to write about something that I have been experiencing onsite with my customer and starting from that point to see where it leads.  So I decided on the topic or question of “What makes an IT project successful?”.

 There are many factors that come into play in an IT Project.  Some would say that a project manager or a quality engineer make it work while others would say that a good support person or a project sponsor are the key elements to success.  In most cases, I could not argue that all of those things and many more are very important to have and arguably the most important.  However, I have a slightly different view on the situation.  I think the single most important thing to making an IT project a success is something that can be said for many things outside of IT.  I think that its one of the simplest things that we rely on yet overlook constantly.  I think the single most important thing to being successful is Relationships.  Yes I think relationships can make or break an IT project just like it can make or break many other things as well.

 If you sit back and think, you could have a room full of top quality engineers, program managers, support personnel, a passionate project sponsor, a CIO with a very healthy budget, and yet still have a failing project.  With all the right pieces, how could a project fail?  Well in my experience, without the right relationships in place, it will fail.  You could have all of these key people and resources, but if they cannot communicate and have a productive working relationship then the project will fail.  I have seen it happen time and time again.  I have fortunately been able to resolve many situations and help get projects back on track even when I had little or no involvement in the project just because I was able to get different people to communicate or be a “bridge” between different people.  Communication and relationships are truly what makes things happen.  If your storage tech cannot effectively communicate with your PM or your backup tech, then you have a problem.  If your engineers do not have a relationship with your implementation or O&M people, then you have problem.  The examples could go on for days.  Although it seems so obvious and simple, it is so overlooked on so many IT Projects.  Its often an easy thing to fix once the problem is identified and admitted by the people involved.  Unfortunately it sometimes either comes too late or at the loss of millions of dollars due to lack of productivity.  When relationships are not present, everyone loses. 

 So, if you find yourself working on a struggling project and want to do something to make it work, consider what relationships or communication lanes that may not be open in the project and what impact they have.  Although it can sometimes be a struggle, getting people to put down their defenses and just talk sometimes resolves the majority of the problems.

 So simple, yet so often overlooked.