Did you know that 90% of significant digital transformation projects without organizational alignment fall short of expectations and nearly 40% fail? Increase your odds of success by first getting all your corporate ducks in a row.
- Success = delivered on time and within budget with required features and functions
- Challenged = late, over budget, and/or delivered with fewer than the required features and functions
- Failed = canceled before completion or delivered and never used
According to Project Management Works: The Shocking Truth, 90% of large projects are challenged or failed.
Our 30+ years of experience spans many technical and business project management roles. For some projects, we reported to IT leadership; for others, business leadership.
Over this time, a consistent set of partnership and alignment themes emerged, and we learned that they dictate success or failure.
1 – Leadership Alignment
If your project team is not 100% aligned, your project should not start.
Every project needs strong leadership from the beginning to the end. In addition, your project leadership teams must understand their roles and share a common objective.
Business and IT teams must understand each other’s goals at a detailed level and agree to these goals. There is a difference between “lip service” and actual alignment.
2 – Financial Responsibility
You must track and monitor project financials throughout the lifespan of your project, with costs split between capital and expense.
Clear accountability for tracking project financial status must be defined to maintain executive commitment, clarity, and consistency. In addition, business and IT organizations require complete financial visibility, from the initial budget requests through expenditures and ongoing forecasts.
3 – Key Business and IT Decisions
Before a project begins, you must define critical decisions directly impacting your desired result. These will serve as design guardrails throughout your project’s lifespan.
To determine these critical decisions, you should define a formal process for debating alternatives and selecting the agreed-upon approach.
4 – Form is as Important as Function
Your project’s function is your table stakes—your solution must function as designed.
Your project’s form can be more subjective, but this is clear: ease of use and customer interaction must be an obsession. You have one chance to make a first impression, and adoption comes with the simplicity of use.
5 – IT and Business Testing Responsibilities
Both organizations play a critical role in testing. IT must deliver a working solution that meets the intended requirements. And the business organization should certify that the system functions as intended and is usable by the end customer.
IT and business stakeholders will likely not agree when the system is ready for deployment. It is ok to disagree. However, the business owners have final approval.
6 – Build, Test, and Deploy Sequence
Agile projects cannot be chaos! —you must architect sprints with logical steps that build upon one another.
For example, you must plan for security from day one—it should not be an afterthought once you complete the system build. The IT minimal viable product (MVP) may differ from your required go-to-market solution.
7 – Voice of the Customer May Result in Rework
Users must have hands on the system to provide valuable input. As a result, without proper planning, the price of organizational disruption can be substantial.
Prepare your customer representatives for their role, so they understand the project includes a refinement cycle. Planning for the time required to react to their feedback is critical. The more feedback you incorporate, the greater your solution’s acceptance, adoption, and influence.
90% of large projects fall short of expectations, resulting in a significant financial burden, operational disruption, and increased technology debt.
Increase your odds by making your organizational alignment more than “lip service.”