Many things can go wrong with a technology project – ambiguous requirements and an out-of-control, ever-growing scope of work among them. Randall Jackvony, vice president of technology and client services for Trilix, says end users play a crucial role.
PBN: When making a tech-related change at a workplace, what can happen if the employees who will be using the new technology are not involved?
JACKVONY: If the employees who will be using the new technology are not involved in the project at all stages, the likelihood of project failure increases significantly. End-user input is key to help set priorities, understand the state of existing processes and technologies, envision and describe the desired future state to other business stakeholders, and validate that the new technology works as expected. Further, having their buy-in empowers employees, makes the transition easier, the adoption rate higher, and allows the organization to derive maximum benefit from the new solution.
PBN: What are common mistakes you see in projects requiring technology changes?
JACKVONY: When business leaders fail to thoroughly examine the environment in which the technology will be used. When this doesn’t happen, process problems often manifest and impede the success of the technology project.
Another issue that can arise is not prioritizing the problems the technology is supposed to solve. Technology projects can fail when every business pain is urgent; and when everything is urgent, nothing is really prioritized. The key to combating this is to prioritize the pain and address those items accordingly, especially those that have the greatest effect on increasing revenue, introducing efficiencies and bolstering team morale.
PBN: In making tech changes, what is an agile project approach and why is it beneficial?
JACKVONY: At Trilix, we follow the agile project approach with our client engagements, which allows us to best address those priorities I mentioned. We use Scrum as our flavor of agile. With Scrum, we have short iterations of work, usually two weeks, where we work on coding, testing and delivering an increment of the solution to the customer.
It is beneficial because the customer sees value more frequently and earlier in the project. It further allows them to test, approve and deploy changes much more quickly than having to wrestle with months’ work of development output. The result is that we get much more meaningful feedback very quickly.
As we are tackling work in short increments, customers can better adapt to changing priorities. Change will happen in any project, and agile approaches allow the team to better deal with it.
PBN: Is it always a case where the bigger the scope of what new technology can do, the better – to always aim high, in other words?
JACKVONY: An organization should absolutely aim high! But don’t let that big scope scare you into not taking that key step to accelerate your business. We empower our clients to leverage that disciplined prioritization process I previously mentioned, so we can meet that scope of work and accelerate business outcomes.
PBN: Trilix offers system-integration services. What should companies look for in a good system-integration team?
JACKVONY: The same rules that apply for any technology project. … You want a partner who will really understand the business drivers and desired business outcome of the project. Systems integration projects often involve leveraging existing technology investments, so we work to understand how to help our clients extract the most value from existing spend. Whether existing or new systems, a great team will want to understand the business, [and] will have a disciplined process to deliver and keep you informed throughout the project.
Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.