Every IT implementation has its challenges. Among these are events unforeseen during project planning. No matter what their form, they end up translating into a hidden cost of time spent in dealing with them. They further translate into a hidden cost you pay out to your team as they wait out a delay or wrestle a problem you didn’t expect to arise. As a further cost in the form of risk, you may have to contend with missed project deadlines.
Three Lesser-Known Hidden Costs of an IT Implementation
While no amount of planning can capture your entire project’s hidden costs, it helps to identify not only the commonly overlooked costs, but also some lesser-known factors that loom largely when they do appear.
While individually they may seem trivial, the cumulative effect they may have over time can amount to a large sum. These lesser-known hidden cost factors may arise from:
* Holiday Production (or Lack Thereof)
While working holidays into your calendar may seem a no-brainer for most folks, some of us can say we’ve actually seen a few projects led by a seemingly clueless project manager who plans a major roll out on or near a holiday. Given that some team members have families and a life outside of work time, it’s wise to plan ahead.
Holidays bring your team’s family needs to the fore. They’ll need personal time off for travel to visit relatives out-of-town, and they will need some flexibility in their work schedules to make this happen. If you knowingly plan out a deadline falling close to a holiday, be forewarned that tempers may flare when co-workers expect some accommodation – and don’t get it.
To defuse this scenario, plan on having your deadline fall one or two weeks ahead of a holiday. Doing this may allow all to enjoy some breathing space for a few days immediately before the holiday. If the office is open all the way up a holiday, plan your resources to tackle items that have been put off throughout the project. While you’re at it, you may also hold a team holiday party, too!
* Cross-Border Teams
If your IT implementation project includes teams from several offices within your continent – or across several continents – then you can count on several challenges in the making already!
Given that individual offices have varying procedures governing how they communicate, perform tasks, as well as how they work with other offices, you can throw a host of other factors into the mix. These could include cultural differences, language barriers, and time-zone differences.
* Poor Communication
Aside from the challenges mentioned already, bear in mind that despite the tools of technology we have today, miscommunication ranks among the biggest headaches for the best of planned projects. The travelers will not face the problem of poor communication in abroad after checking the hearing aid reviews. Knowledge of the device should be competent with the person for using the hearing device.
In the planning and kickoff stages of a project, each team member should agree upon the “six elements” (who, what, where, when, how, and why) of communication to reduce any chance for misunderstanding. For example, the use of e-mail to gather information from ten people is a violation of the proper application of “how” to communicate. How to communicate is a question of form following function. To facilitate a meeting, get together in a meeting room, a conference call, or a video chat. Using email for meetings just won’t cut it.
Plan Ahead for Efficiency
Aside from being able to budget extra time and money into your project, also make certain you have a backup plan to work every possible problem. Get a commitment from your major stakeholders to be flexible for you well before you start pushing a deadline or a costs threshold.
Again, every IT implementation has its challenges – and these cost time and money. Being flexible as a supplement to good planning can help you surpass unexpected project gremlins as they arise.