One of the more complex projects a company can undertake is a digital transformation. There is a lot of pressure on the core project team to deliver a successful CTRM implementation due to the amount of time, energy, and money that is invested in these projects. A company can turn to experts in the field, such as a system integrator or third-party consultant, to help steer it. In order to deliver a final product, they invest a lot of resources. Although companies pour in these resources and efforts, the majority don’t fully reap the benefits when it’s all said and done. Some even consider their project a complete failure.
Real-time detection of when the project is at risk of straying outside the guardrails is the greatest challenge. In a perfect world, you could correct course when warning signs appear. Let’s look at the most common early warning signs of CTRM failure.
Over-dependence on a partner
Many companies rely too much on their partners’ recommendations and are nearly completely dependent on them. One of the biggest risks of a digital transformation project is relying too heavily on partners, such as your system integrator or similarly. Why?
There’s a reason they don’t know you as you know yourself. All elements of your business, such as your processes and culture, are unique to you. Sure, they can do their due diligence and learn about your business, and they will all do so. Their skin in the game is different from yours. When making a decision, even though your partners may provide interesting insights and context, it is your internal team that needs to be behind the wheel.
Partner up with someone who will support you. Their role should be to help you think about things in new ways and to spark your creativity. You shouldn’t allow them to make decisions for you.
You run another risk if they have such a high level of control, which is they can bring biases and skewed influences into the project. You run the risk of making decisions that are not in your own best interests if you place too much weight on their suggestions. Integrators often get paid for suggesting add-ons and software improvements, and they also get paid for the length of time they spend working on a project. Overruns in your projects are their gain. Own your project and take off the rose-coloured glasses.
The failure to plan
It is also a big red flag when a detailed, integrated project plan is lacking. From organizational change management to data migration, everything needs to be well-planned in advance.
If you don’t have an intricate digital transformation strategy, you have no reference point to guide your decision-making and ultimately, your project’s success. This is not something that should be done at the beginning of the project, it should be done before the project even starts. It could be disastrous if you haven’t developed a project plan even after 6-8 weeks into your project.
The expectation of something unattainable
Digital transformation is highly dependent on expectations, and expectations play a big role in determining success.
You need to begin by addressing the expectations of the team. System integration is complicated, and it involves a lot of moving parts. Depending on someone’s role, it could very quickly take over their daily lives. For the project team to succeed, it is imperative they know how much effort and time will be required.
Next, the expectation of the system integrator needs to be managed. When a software salesman comes into the room, they are going to sell you their software. They will often avoid discussing the downsides of their software, they sometimes gloss over exactly how much customizations will cost, and they will do whatever they can to get your team excited about the software.
When evaluating software, ask the right questions and learn what you need to know in order to secure the results you seek. Trying to get to point A and ending up at point C is never a good plan.
How are things going with your project?
I would be happy to assist you with a project health check or to provide you with guidance on how to properly plan for your upcoming digital transformation. You can count on my informal input in supporting your efforts whenever you need it.
About the Author
Jason Novobranec is Implementary’s Chief Operating Officer.
With over 20 years Consulting, Program Management & Senior Leadership experience, Jason has delivered initiatives for large multi-national / multi-regional organisations as well as SME’s and is an expert in shaping solutions to fit a customer’s project needs.