Done correctly, an IT project supercharges your organization’s performance – making you look good in front of citizens and your boss and, more importantly, improving the service you offer. On the other hand, a poorly-executed project can drag your organization and career down to a fit-inducing purgatory. Official inquiries, wasted money, audits, bad publicity – who needs all that?
So what can you do? Doesn’t the success of an IT project depend on the developers and project managers? Aren’t we all just at the mercy of the master schedule and developer availability?
In a word, no.
I get it. There are some terrible developers and project managers out there – ones that could turn even the best set of requirements into a gigantic pile of failure. But you know what? Most IT folks are in fact capable of doing their jobs. But do you know what they’re not good at? Reading minds and understanding your work. So if you send the IT team off with a vague description of what you want and expect a perfectly-polished product to show up at your door six months from now, you’ve set yourself up for failure.
The truth is that any successful IT project has to be a team effort. The IT team needs constant feedback on what they are building to make sure that it fits your needs. You know your work. The IT team does not. Therefore, only you can make sure that the project will improve how you work and the service you provide. You can’t pawn it off on anyone else.
I worked on a project once where the system owner couldn’t be bothered to provide feedback. Setting up meetings to go over what had been built and gather suggestions was like pulling teeth. The IT team had to make due with what little information they could get from her. So unsurprisingly, when the end of the budget came, she looked at the product and exclaimed, “This isn’t what I wanted!”
That pain could have been avoided if she had been involved throughout the development process.
Don’t let that happen to you. Odds are, the developers and project managers assigned to build your projects will be capable. You, and you alone, will make or break your project’s success. So stay involved and help your IT department take your organization (and career!) to new heights.
Kyle Barney is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.
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