Let’s be honest: IT projects have a terrible reputation when it comes to communication. Whether implementing software, installing hardware, or all of the little updates in between, the actual process of building and maintaining your stack tends to fill stakeholders with dread. Business users want it all, and they want it now … but it better be on time and on budget, no matter what the excuse.
What they don’t see, of course, are all the moving pieces behind the scenes. Technology is more important to the business than ever before. As a result, IT drives real, tangible value, but must also juggle a seemingly endless list of requests (and demands). From requirements gathering to prioritization, project management to implementation, IT teams are inundated with daily must-dos all to help with communication as businesses indicate they aren’t receiving communication.
IT needs communication to be more transparent to business colleagues.
Methodologies like agile have risen to meet this need; and by and large they are successful, empowering technology teams to work more effectively in the face of today’s rapid pace of change. But while newer systems like agile put helpful processes in place around how work gets done, the fundamental ideas behind it aren’t new at all. Whether you call it a scrum or a meeting, communication between key project constituents always has been, and continues to be, the biggest success factor for completing work on time and on budget.
Daily: Conduct tiger team scrums.
No matter which methodology you follow or what you call them, quick check-ins with the core group on a daily basis will keep everyone on track. These working sessions should be highly collaborative and hands-on, working through your tracker in real time and gathering status checks from each involved party.
Daily meetings may sound tedious, but those 15 minutes per day will save endless hours down the road by keeping everyone in lockstep.
Weekly: Update business stakeholders.
One of the biggest frustrations that business users feel towards IT is a lack of info and transparency. Often, they hand in their requirements, and don’t hear from their technology counterparts until the project is “complete” – which it never is, because their expectations and understanding invariably change along the way.
Like daily scrums, weekly stakeholder meetings may sound like overkill. But when kept to 30 minutes, they allow IT to share updates and gain clarification, and the business to remain involved and make adjustments if and when necessary.
Monthly: Give executive overviews.
Whether your executive sponsor is in the C-suite or several levels down, it’s important to keep him or her in the loop. A well-updated executive armed with knowledge on your project can spread visibility and enthusiasm throughout the organization, which benefits everyone involved. Executive sponsors can be your biggest champion, or just the signature on the check. Keep your execs in the know to build the relationship and foster goodwill down the line, and across the business.
IT projects don’t have to be full of headaches and hassles. With the right communication to the right stakeholders, everyone can operate more efficiently … and IT will gain a better reputation.