After 8 weeks of teaching in one of New Jersey’s best, Rutgers University, I have been felled by flu-like symptoms. I watched my students struggle through it, and it didn’t look pretty. I had hoped I had dodged it, but no reprieve unfortunately.
So, as I lie awake at 1:50 am, I am reminded how much the flu impacts my life. Anyone else who has it bears the effects. Hard to think, lots of wheezing and tiredness and certainly not a localized effect. Everyone in the household is affected and beyond.
Which has me thinking that having the flu or a cold has some things in common with IT projects that are delayed or miss critical deadlines. The major reasons being poor communications and scope creep.
A much-heralded IT project becomes a greater risk and even a liability because the effects are not localized to the project, but impact a much broader community.
Take an external IT services provider, for example. It’s hard to leverage success for marketing, if the success doesn’t exist. Or people are grumbling. Well beyond the delay, credibility suffers. And, when the implementation training actually comes around, it often seems rushed, out of date.
For internal projects, what often is lacking is the change management piece. I’m not talking about version control. I’m talking about creating readiness for the new, shiny tool, app or system and having a plan for dealing with inevitable resistance and fear of change. A bad cold (delay) in the IT shop can display flu-like symptoms throughout the rest of the organization - and undermine support and ‘buy-in’ for future projects. In fact, it usually does. Other parts of the organization, buried with demands for doing more with less, hope the IT project doesn’t take too much of their time, and somehow gets done.
How to solve the problem? Acknowledge it, have a plan, change how the project is implemented and communicate with people with the same message regardless of channel. When blowback occurs, don’t run and hide - hear it, respond to it, and take responsibility for making adjustments. People are watching for improvements - sure, they’re tired and may not sing your praises immediately, but will respect your efforts - setting the stage for the next shiny, new mousetrap.
As your project gets back on track, have a cup of tea and lemon (or a brandy) and remember, the suffering could be a hell of a lot worse - only, you’ve nipped it in the bud.
1/15/2021 08:16:37 am
Informative blog :)
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Randy Fisher - Rutgers Professor & Career Coach