Written by Dave Garwood, Head of Operations, Riverbank IT Management

Have you ever commissioned your IT provider to carry out a project but ended up underwhelmed by the outcome? Maybe you were surprised with additional costs? Did it drag on and finish unacceptably late?

Or possibly you had to cancel the whole thing with significant financial loss, not to mention the inevitable reputational hit and the associated embarrassment?

Wouldn’t you rather have a successful IT project that is delivered on time and on budget, that allows your business to transform into what it needs to be to continue to be at the top?

Here’s why IT projects fail:

1. Not knowing what is actually required

One of the biggest mistakes IT providers make is that they make assumptions. Either that they know what you need, or that you know what you need. The fact is there needs to be a period of business analysis to find out your exact requirements – you may not even know what they are yet!

You may have some idea, and some IT providers will just deliver that without any further analysis. This can mean that technically you get what you asked for, but it isn’t really what you need and you will end up disappointed.

At Riverbank, we make sure we listen to your requirements, and work with you to provide the best possible solution so that it benefits your business both now and in the future.

We don’t assume we know what you need, but conversely, we won’t just deliver what you ask for without ensuring we understand the end goal you are aiming for.

2. Inadequate planning

It’s easy to just think ‘we’ve done this before, it’s easy’ and then plough ahead with the project without really thinking it through. This almost inevitably leads to surprises, delays, and additional cost, and happens much more often that you would think.

The Riverbank way is to plan the project thoroughly, identify potential risks and mitigate up front, where we can. We never make the reckless assumption that we’ve done it before, so it will be the same this time.

3. Poor (or non-existent) project management

Many smaller IT providers will not have a dedicated Project Manager, they will have their technical staff manage their own projects. Whilst this may be passed on to you in terms of a slightly lower cost, it adds a lot of risk to the project.

Technical staff are by definition skilled in technical areas, but they aren’t necessarily good organisers and project managers, so your project has a much higher chance of slipping or going over budget.

The small additional cost of project management will be more than covered by the reduced risk of failure.

Riverbank employs project managers to keep projects on track. We leave the technical staff to do what they do best.

4. Lack of communication

It’s vital that you are kept in the loop of the progress of the project as it goes along. If there is slippage or additional costs, you need to know immediately, not when the project is in its last days.

In fact, even if things are going to plan, you need to know so you can feel comfortable that you aren’t going to get any surprises.

At Riverbank we pride ourselves on our communication, we will keep you up-to-date throughout the project and provide you with the confidence you need.

 5. Zero flexibility

Even the most well prepared and planned projects may need to change. Maybe the budget has been cut (or increased!) with little or no notice, maybe there has been a strategic change made at Board level, or maybe it is as simple as you realising that you actually need something other than what has been agreed.

Without flexibility you will end up with an outcome that you don’t want and will spend more than you need to.

At Riverbank, we understand your plans may change. If your project is in progress but something has cropped up meaning that the project scope needs amending, let us know. We aren’t going to just plough ahead with the plan even though it isn’t what you need any more. We will work with you to adjust the plan, to ensure your revised needs are met.

6. No commitment to review & learn

All projects need a review. If they go well, work out why so you can do it again. If they don’t go well, investigate what went wrong and take action to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes again.

IT providers that don’t do this will make the same mistakes time and time again, and will never learn.

At Riverbank we review our projects to ensure that we learn and continually improve. If you work with us you will reap the benefit of our commitment to learning. All IT providers will tell you that they can deliver your project, but not all of them will be able to.

If you are planning an IT project, and aren’t confident that your current provider can deliver (or are looking for a new provider), get in touch with our IT experts on 01235 426700 or email enquiries@riverbank.co.uk and let us deliver you the result you deserve and demand.

Dave Garwood is Head of Operations at Riverbank IT Management, with over 15 years’ experience in IT Service Delivery – both managed service providers and internal IT departments. His primary focus is on improving the quality of service delivered through the use of well-defined processes, and by developing high quality technical and customer focused teams.