Looking forward to an IT project? If you’ve made big plans for system upgrades, a software roll-out, or even something like creating an on-site editing suite, this blog will help.
Where to start
Decide on a methodology behind your project – the sequence of what you’ll do and when. Traditionally, Waterfall is seen as the go-to methodology for larger-scale IT projects, which gets you to define six key stages for your project:
- Requirements – a written ‘brief’ containing what you want to be done, why and how. This is useful for anyone connected to the project: internal or external IT professionals, stakeholders and internal teams. It should clearly explain the rational and basic needs of your IT project, pinning your colours to the mast.
- Design – flesh out your requirements into a potential solution, noting everything you’ll need to complete the project.
- Implementation – your chosen mix of internal or external IT teams take your design document and implement it to the letter, sticking to your chosen specifications, timelines and processes.
- Testing – deliverables are measured against the standards set out in your design document and tested by stakeholders. This is effectively a quality check; if it doesn’t meet the standard, it’s time to head back into further implementation and/or adjust the design document to reflect what’s possible.
- Installation – if all tests pass, the project is ready for release and become fully operational.
- Maintenance – most IT projects shouldn’t end at the point of delivery. To keep them on track and meeting your requirements, they often need ongoing support. That’s where things like remote monitoring, updates or upgrades, and adjusting your backups and business continuity planning come in.
By putting pen to paper on the first couple of steps and getting widespread agreement, you’ll be setting a strong framework for success. If the tech guys don’t know exactly what you want, they’ll find it hard to deliver. You’ll also need to factor any user problems into the mix; will your staff know how to use their new software or systems?
How to factor in potential challenges
Most businesses rely on IT to keep almost every aspect of their business running well. So, it follows that a transformation project has the potential to affect every corner of your organisation – from creative teams, to HR and finance.
Common challenges include unclear expectations from the business’ leaders, end users, or stakeholders (which is why we really recommend following a process like the one above), making the same assumptions about integrating a diverse set of hardware, networks and software to a new system (which can throw up a lot of problems, including potential systems downtime), and failing to keep up with rapidly changing technology. The last thing you want is to have to upgrade systems mid-project. The geography of how you work can also be an issue most businesses overlook. If staff work remotely, or you have a high turnover of freelancers and contractors using their own devices, for instance, that can seriously constrain the roll-out of new systems.
When to bring in the experts
Whether you have an in-house IT team or not, there will be times when bringing in IT project experts (like us!) makes the most sense:
- To help define the scope and parameters – we’ve done countless projects with various shapes and sizes of business, specialising in the creative industries
- To procure the right software, hardware or systems – our industry partnerships mean we’re able to bring in the right mix of tech to suit your particular needs, at the right price
- To implement new tech with minimal downtime or disruption
- To troubleshoot or help when things don’t go to plan with implementation
- To monitor and support your tech roll-out after the initial implementation phase is over, including ongoing upgrades, patches, remote monitoring, and more.
We’re among London’s leading providers of managed IT services, specialising in serving the creative industries. Our vast knowledge and decades of experience mean we’re perfectly placed to help define, implement and monitor IT projects big or small. We’d love to talk about your IT plans – contact us to find out more.