By Julie May, an EO Nashville member, and CEO of bytes of knowledge
Too often, IT firms focus on creating a solution before understanding the problem. Without a clear understanding of the business challenge, who will be served and why, it’s nearly impossible for an IT firm to give you an honest idea of the risks or unintended consequences that may occur, and any proposed schedule, budget or resulting work will start off on the wrong foot.
On the other hand, you will also find that many IT firms believe it’s possible to plan every detail in advance. This “I can see the future” method of project planning leaves very little room for adjustment and typically results in rigid specifications that cost too much to develop, while also failing to reduce project uncertainty.Finding the right balance between planning too little and too much can be difficult.
To start your next technology project off on the right foot, here’s a five-point checklist for proper planning:
Focus on the “why” before tackling the “how.”
Make sure you and your IT firm share a clear understanding of the business problem you want technology to solve.
Acknowledge that you can’t see every possible detail in advance, and plan for contingencies
Know that it is a natural course of events for your business plan, and therefore your requirements, to evolve. You must be flexible in the face of the unexpected, and know you can continue to refine details along the way.