Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The latest news from the world of project management

How to fail well...

Failure Is the new success. Here are five ways that you can embrace...

5 Skills Needed To...

Why do projects fail? It's a question that invites a lot of interest and...

Embrace the change: Getting...

New IT systems for a growing business can be an exciting prospect and...

New Professional Body for...

The House of PMO, a new professional body for PMO professionals was launched...
HomeGeneralIT Project Teams...

IT Project Teams are STILL driving competitive advantage

“Behind every great, growing business is a successful IT Project team”.

This was the working title of a blog post that I started writing in early March 2020.

Looking back at it now, it was a wonderfully optimistic piece about how IT Project teams were inspiring, facilitating and delivering business change in every successful business that I could think of.

Sadly, I never finished the article. The UK was put into lockdown on 23 March in an unprecedented step to attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus. All our priorities changed in that instant, as business growth forecasts were side-lined, and we all focussed on business survival.

What if my belief, that behind every successful business was a successful and dynamic IT Project team, was still true? What if it were even more important for businesses after Covid-19 and lockdown to have an innovative IT Project team?

Consider the changes that your business has been forced to implement since that announcement on 23rd March – the ones that have kept your lights on and your business wheels turning. The Zoom calls, the Microsoft Teams, the remote working, the streamlining of systems so that fewer people can manage the workload of furloughed colleagues, etc, etc. What do they all have in common? They are all IT initiatives.

At the heart of every surviving business is an IT or IT Project team that is still inspiring, facilitating and delivering business change.

Remember survival is the new success! It is a story that we should be rightly proud of.

So, what’s next for IT Project Teams?

Most major business IT Projects are on hold. This makes perfect sense. Most major business IT projects were designed to help create or deliver business growth, and thanks to the recession caused by Covid-19, there’s not a lot of growth to be found. Economies are contracting, businesses that were spending on their future are cutting costs just to survive their present.

Smart IT Project leaders identified this early on, they had the best handle on where efficiencies could be made and where processes could be improved – and they found that business leaders were more open to hearing about them than ever. There are lessons for the rest of us to learn.

In his book ‘Management Challenges for the 21st Century’, Peter Drucker wrote that, “Continuous process improvements transform the business. They lead to innovation. They lead to new processes. They lead to new business.”

Drucker wrote these words in 1999!!! BUT they feel even more appropriate now.

Given the current, post Covid-19, economic conditions, organisations need to be more innovative. Not just to survive, these IT Project led initiatives can actually drive new business. One of the ways that proactive IT Project teams are doing this is by focusing on, identifying and recommending improvements within their infrastructure. These improvements, many borne out of necessity, are streamlining business processes! They have the capacity to transform the business, leading to innovation and opportunities, perhaps even relative growth as everyone else stagnates. In some cases, they are even identifying new business deliverables that can be monetised.

IT Project Teams are driving competitive advantage

Companies must strive to achieve greater operational effectiveness. It is a prerequisite for innovation, it is a basic reality survival, it is a traditionally acknowledged business instinct – but it’s also something many businesses are not fully leveraging in the enduring firefight that is our business environment since March 2020.  Much business success has been built on improving internal processes and this has never been more important than now.

In times of growth, this enables businesses to remain competitive, while providing quality services and products. In a harsher climate, like now, it’s more vital than ever that we have streamlined internal processes to allow us to be more efficient and, consequently, more competitive.

IT and Business leaders can (and regularly do!!) point to their proven track records of performance improvements and how, within their organisations, these have driven growth. It’s easily demonstrated how new methodologies or improved approaches can fire companies onto greater success, we’ve been articulating and measuring this as a part of key corporate business initiatives for years!

This is a skill set that is about to become a vital business asset as firms look for further efficiencies – IT Project teams are masters at it.

In conclusion, IT Projects are perfectly placed to shape the future of business as we emerge from this pandemic.

Businesses need to be leaner and more innovative.

It’s time for IT Project teams to say, “Hold our coffee, watch us do our thing” – this is our moment.

Related Posts

Continue reading

How Knowing Your PM’s Favourite Rom-Com and BA’s Dog’s Name Could Help Optimise IT Project Success!

Isn’t it beautiful when an IT Project team execute and implement with total cohesion from top to bottom? When colleagues become team-mates, and when leaders understand who they are leading, I think a team becomes almost unbeatable. LESSONS FROM A...

IT Project decision making: How the best choice between two options can often be the third!

The “Crucible Moments” podcast is a fascinating listen, especially as Roelof Botha (whose thoughts are the inspiration for this blog) isn’t the main subject. He plays the role of presenter; the main guest is Jack Dorsey (former Twitter CEO who now runs the financial services company Block). The central narrative of the podcast is the evolution of Block from its origins as Square, and how they created Cash App, a ‘third’ option, which is now responsible for half of Block’s revenue. The strategy of expanding the number of options for consideration was instrumental in helping Block identify and eliminate what wasn’t working and focus on more profitable projects.

An interesting thought experiment: open-book IT Project Management

Empowerment, autonomy, ownership – these buzzwords have rattled around for a few years now in relation to IT Project talent. Most project managers, business analysts (etc) would agree that they have the power to schedule their own time, track their own progress and tasks and choose how they work, to some extent. It usually leads to improved performance – after all who knows how to do a job better than the person who does it day-in, day-out?! What if you could take this improved individual performance and amplify it across your whole project or portfolio?