Straight Talk on Project Management

More disruption for IT projects

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You want what? When? The new challenges of more disruption for IT Projects and how PMaaS can help

“My project is a challenge,” said my IT Project Leader friend Malc, “it’s not that the goal posts keep moving, it’s more like they keep getting burned down”.

“Every day, I’m like, ‘You want what? When?’”

It’s true! I’ve never known a less stable IT Project delivery landscape. Disruptive, volatile, unpredictable, challenging and (you know me) exhilarating at the same time!

I was thinking about how fast things are moving the other day when I found an old Sony Ericsson phone while having a clear out.

Imagine the changes that have happened to your mobile phone over the years.

I’m old enough to remember when a phone was just that – a phone; the really cool thing about it was that you could also send a text message. (Do you remember selecting letters by clicking the number keys multiple times and then cursing when you thumbed the number 2 four times instead of three and completely missed the ‘c’ you were looking for).

Your smartphone now is a world away from all that, it’s a genuine super-computer that you carry in your pocket. The process was gradual though, the first phones could only call and text, that evolved into a phone that did this but was a camera too, then it became a phone that was all of this and also an MP3 player …  until eventually, you have a phone that you can tap at the till to pay for your groceries, stream music on and book anything from train tickets to a holiday!

The analogue network I first used is a far cry from the 5G that you and I access today.

The thing is, your phone did this over several iterations, upgrades, and a few decades.

Imagine if all that evolution and change in mobile phone tech had been crammed into just one model! How exhausting to deliver! How unreasonable to even ask for this level of agile response from the developers!

IT Projects are currently feeling like this for many.

Businesses are having to adapt rapidly, and IT Project teams are having to flex with them. The level of project portfolio disruption that I am hearing about is off the scale. Plans having to be rearranged and then rearranged again as a result of goalposts continuously moving! Project teams are having to turn on a sixpence to keep deliverables relevant to evolving market demands.

Increased and changing demands have always called for increased flexibility – and IT Project Management is KING when it comes to managing and facilitating change! BUT look at what we are (and have been) dealing with!

From GDPR disrupting governance of data to businesses and their project teams coping with rapidly changing markets and guidance, then throw in COVID and Brexit and supply issues … it’s a wonder that we’re all still the happy smiling deep reservoirs of positive joy that we are!

In fact, to return to that mobile phone metaphor, thanks to all this disruption, if your IT Project was initiated to deliver the equivalent of a Motorola M300, it is now probably expected to produce the latest iPhone – with the same resources, budget and delivery time frames. It’s great, isn’t it?! 

Businesses are needing greater agility. To deliver it, IT Projects need more flexible resources, but the disruptive environment is bubbling a number of areas for concerns to the surface, here are just three!

Three Areas Where Project Disruptions Are Biting

1 – Resource Capacity Planning is not fit for purpose

“What even does ‘capacity’ mean?” I was asked by a client once and, to be fair, I sympathised.

Stadiums have a crowd capacity; the top deck of a bus has a passenger capacity and these are easy to measure – just count the seats! IT Projects are a different story! Counting seats doesn’t cut it!

Capacity, in our world, is the resources you have available to complete a specific task, or hit a time deadline or deliver a project within budget. Harder to measure! Often organisations don’t know how to measure their capacity – it’s sort of invisible and subsequently resource allocation is more down to ‘instinct’. You can get away with this when the project delivery environment is stable, perhaps even convince yourself that intuitive capacity planning works – but throw in some disruptions, stretch your resources – and gaps (and their consequences) start to become very apparent.

2 – Documentation of resource allocation is poor

While managing IT projects, it is essential to accurately document all resource utilisation and allocation but also keep it regularly updated.

A lot of organisations are still relying on spreadsheets to do this manually! Remember, close to 90% of spreadsheets contain errors! *Source:Forbes 

Even purpose-built software is only as good as the data fed into it. Stretched project teams are documenting resource utilisation less effectively causing problems with allocation across the portfolio.

3 – Consequences of robbing Peter to pay Paul are hitting faster

Shifting your IT Project resources to allow you to respond to unexpected problems, scope creep or changing needs is common and in normal circumstances – it’s fine! Any organisation delivering complex projects will encounter unexpected issues, and temporarily reallocating resources makes sense.

You know me and a football analogy! Bringing your central defender across to help your left back beat off the threat of a surging Ronaldo is sensible, your centre-half can easily get back into position! Only with all this disruption, it turns out that there’s more than one ball in play and Messi is taking full advantage of the space created and is advancing on your goal!   

Shifting resources here and there can work but, when capacity is stretched, sporadically shifting resources can leave you exposed, especially if your documentation is less than perfect!

That’s just three areas! Extra unplanned or unpredicted requests, more unrealistic delivery deadlines, poor risk assessment of resource risks, the list goes on! Honestly, just from anecdotal feedback, there is probably a whole second blog in this!

So, what to do?    

Well, as experts in Remote Access Project Management, at Stoneseed we can help ramp up, kickstart or support your IT Project Delivery in these uncertain times and cover staffing shortfalls. 

We offer a full range of project services including PMO, Project Management and Business Analysis. Bett still, this expertise is also available on demand remotely, offering rapid response resources. You can align resources as and when you need it, on a cost effective, full-time or part-time basis.

Our team have been involved in countless projects and all come from an infrastructure or digital application background, and we have a team of IT technical staff and advisors – in other words, we have the person you need! Plus, with low cost set up, resources can be deployed to support just one project, multiple projects or a programme of projects in any geographical location.

Stoneseed’s PMaaS resource on-demand model allows you to dial up and down IT project resources in sync with your delivery needs, giving you more control over your costs in these disruptive unpredictable times.

At a time when the business is crying out for more agility from your project team, we flex to support your project needs.

  Find out about Stoneseed’s Project Services