End of Year IT Project Realignment

The AlchemistProject Management

The end of the year can be a frustrating time for your IT project. You know you still have so much you want to achieve but you, or the team, are running out of time. It can also be disheartening if you’ve spent the year trying to get a project going, but you feel like you haven’t made enough progress. As Christmas gets closer we all face the additional challenge of staff mentally checking-out as they move into holiday mode. Regardless of your delivery method, and whether you have daily Agile stand-ups, people are people and are going to be in wind-down mode. This means that the week you think you have left is probably more like a day.

However, you can still use this period constructively and get a head start on the New Year. The end of the year is a perfect time to take stock and realign your project, to take a step back and perform a high level review of what you’ve achieved and what you’ve got left to do. Realistically, not many tangible tasks can now be completed on the project, unless you have staff working through Christmas. A high level review will help you to pause and document your key items, or prepare what you need for those key decisions still to be made.

This may sound simple but is often overlooked – a good way to start is to take your project back to basic principles and look at how you’re tracking on delivery. Are you delivering a system integration? Or a business process change? Or a software upgrade? Each of these will have some key deliverables that you agreed to at project initiation. While these deliverables might be quite broad, they give you a starting point with your review. Once you have your key deliverables, write (or type) them onto the left hand side of your sheet or document. Then, break each of these down a little further. Each of these is still a broad task within the greater deliverable, but they also provide you with a key indicator of how your project is progressing – have you started these items? What’s the general percent complete? Have you hit any roadblocks in each, or are you waiting on decisions to be made?

A lot of our clients have already commented that they’ll “make that decision in the New Year” and have decided that there’s not much else they can do right now. . This is understandable, as everyone is caught up in the rush to finish what they feel are their critical tasks, or simply want to enjoy the lead up to the break after a long year. However, what they aren’t considering is that by putting things off now, they could end up losing a large portion of the beginning of the year. Decisions end up getting delayed, as key people are on leave in January, then suddenly it’s mid February and they’re only now making that decision and recommencing their project.

Taking the time now to assess where you’re up to and what needs to happen next means that you can hit the ground running with the project in the New Year. Your team will know exactly what to do and by February you’ll be comfortable that you’re still on track to deliver on time.

Do you need help getting a project moving in the New Year? Contact us here.