A big part of the work ZAG does for clients and customers revolves around projects big and small that contribute to the client’s overall business goals and technology strategy. No matter the size, these projects can be an undertaking for internal and external resources, involving numerous moving parts and requiring ongoing communication at various points in the process.
One way that the project management team can better serve clients is by setting up IT project check-ins periodically to ensure the best possible outcomes. For larger projects, a quarterly cadence works, while smaller projects may require more frequent meetings.
Whichever kind of project your company is involved in, here are four benefits of these regular check-ins:
Alignment of technology strategy.
Most of our clients work with us and their internal IT leadership to create road maps that help guide their decisions. Some large-scale projects are split between two fiscal years, which means that ZAG must be sure certain deliverables are made within a certain time period to better serve the client. An IT project check-in helps ensure that the work being done is aligned with any long-term planning goals for major projects that the client needs.
Keep track of spending.
While both small- and large-scale projects can be a one-time cost, there are also many recurring expenses, such as licensing, firewall support, or hardware replacement, that need to be tracked alongside these IT projects. An IT check-in lets the client and IT consultant know exactly when upcoming recurring costs will be needed.
At each point, companies should be asking themselves, “Is there anything in progress for the upcoming fiscal year? Are these projects in good shape? Have they gone over budget? Are they delayed (and why)?” Each answer can directly affect the project outcomes, so we need to be sure we’re asking these questions when looking at the client’s business objectives.
Opportunity to look at business objectives.
It’s always good to ask yourself during a project check-in whether the objectives you introduced at the beginning of the year are the same now. In 2020 as COVID began to affect so many businesses (and remote work began almost overnight), a lot of the IT goals for the year shifted dramatically, which meant projects may have been placed on hold or changed altogether.
In this environment, we must ask ourselves, “Do we need to reprioritize projects? Are the projects for the second half of the year still in line with the overall goals?” If the answer is no, multiple stakeholders need to be involved in deciding how best to change the IT project strategy to better fit the business goals.
Ability to rethink security changes.
We’ve read a lot this year about the increase of cybersecurity attacks and threats on all kinds of businesses, bringing the security posture of an organization to the forefront. Changes in priorities may need to take place given emerging information around these threats, which can be discussed in a project check-in conversation as part of the ongoing strategy for the company.
One of the critical questions may be, “Is there anything security-wise that’s urgent enough to switch gears on for the remainder of the year?” If the answer is yes, this may be the opportunity to postpone a project that might not be as high a priority. Regular check-ins help make this kind of determination.
Questions clients should ask about an IT project
Ongoing check-ins are typically scheduled by the IT consulting firm, but if your firm hasn’t initiated one, here are some questions that can help get you started:
- Are the projects we have in progress in good shape?
- Are any projects falling behind?
- What are some of the blockers that are coming up?
- How can we resolve some of these blockers together?
- Are we within the budget that we set at the beginning of the year and/or project?
- Should we hire someone else to help with the deliverables?
- What is in line for the remainder of the year (and into the following year) – and are those projects still aligned with ongoing strategy?
ZAG’s project management team also should ask a couple of ongoing questions of the client, including whether they have enough staff to support the projects that are ongoing or upcoming. As a trusted partner, it’s important this kind of dialogue must be ongoing.
Keeping priorities and trends top of mind
Clients go through ebbs and flow in their businesses, which can change the technical requirements they have. Last year, COVID shifted so many of our clients toward more wireless and cloud-based investments, but now there’s a significant need for security projects, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA). As a services company, our role is to look at the trends alongside our clients and determine what can boost efficiencies, ensure better protection for IT systems, and allow us to provide more value.
Is your company ready to take on some IT projects? Contact us to get a 360-degree review today.