I’ve had the blessing of being part of a lot of interesting projects in the System Center Service Manager / ITSM space. I’ve especially enjoyed the projects that have had a direct business impact and have shown a clear success. In my experience there are some key elements that make a project successful, vs. not successful. Does your project have these elements?
1. You know what you want to achieve. I find that in many projects the technology team can get away with deploying a piece of software, scraping through a deployment, and ending up with something workable. This is not the case in System Center and IT Service Management. If you have not defined what you intend to deliver you will not be successful. You need to set definable goals for success that you can measure your progress against. This is called outcome based planning. In a proper scenario you organize ahead of the project, or in the first phase, what the exact outcome is. A few examples of that outcome could be, saving time in new user provisioning by 200%, deploying servers 50% faster, removing one escalation from the average help desk ticket. A few posts which address entry points and goals are:
2. You know the measureable impact of your project. The most successful projects are the ones that not only have a goal defined, but know how to prove an ROI around their project deliverables. What will be the success that you will experience when your project is completed? Will the user provisioning process save your staff time and let you re-allocate team members to different deliverables? Will the server deployment process let you serve your customers better? Will the escalation process allow you to fix end user computing problems drastically faster? Find out the questions you can answer with the most impactful “yes” and focus on those. I find that what people *think* should be the focus of their project often is different than what will have the most positive impact to their business in the short term and set them up for long term success.
3. You have a reasonable timeline to achieve your goals and impact. Are you defining a reasonable timeframe for your project, or is the project best described as “trying to get the old tool out”. As much as I understand that removing the old tool is important for posterity sake, the most important goal is setting a reasonable timeframe to achieve the successes you’re looking to deliver. If you want to deliver a successful new platform that you won’t replace later, you need to focus on process and ROI vs. tools and technology. After you’ve defined your goals, now define how long it will take to get there with the resources you are willing to commit to the project. In my experience, is you are going to compromise time and features tends to be a better place than quality.
4. You have communicated your timeline and goals effectively to the project team and beyond. Is your strategy clearly articulated and available for people to read? Is it buried in a word document somewhere that is 100 pages long? I start almost every strategy engagement with a roadmap using PowerPoint. I find that by clearly stating the goals and direction it is much easier to rally the troops toward an outcome that I’m looking for, especially if they see the direct ROI in the project and where their future has the opportunity to go.
5. You have the skills and time allocation to execute. Are you trying to accomplish a project without the necessary skills and people? I find that in addition to outside help, many companies underestimate the changes necessary for their own internal teams that are required to achieve true process and technology transformation. The good news is that almost any company can execute on this with help, but you need to be willing to invest in your people, to change roles, and to allocate time to achive success. Here are a few good resources to kick start your knowledge:
I find that service management engagements have an opportunity to drasticly transform how an IT department delivers. It can raise the quality, responsiveness, and management of everything that IT brings to the business. Stay tuned for more in this series…