We all know that Enterprise Software implementations bring challenges. Furthermore, different industries, team sizes, and even locations can all prompt different challenges. If you’re embarking on a digital transformation project, it’s important that you know the potential pitfalls that could happen if your project is failing. It’s essential to take some proactive steps to avoid them.
Signs of Project Failure
Each implementation is going to be different. Additionally, so will the way that you measure its success. If you’re concerned that your project is failing, ask yourself these questions:
- Will I be able to deliver the results we intended when we embarked on this project?
- Can we meet our projected timeline, or are we losing momentum?
- Is our team (internal or external) meeting expectations and handling their responsibilities?
- Is leadership or our consulting partner helping remove roadblocks when we encounter them?
- Will our project set us up for success in 1, 3, or 5 years?
Avoiding Project Failure
As organizations prepare for implementation, the amount of planning and decisions to be made is no small feat. One thing that several consulting partners point to as an indicator of success is how well a company prepares itself for that journey. For instance, here are a few indicators:
1. Setting clear project goals and timelines.
Having clear intentions on your project goals, major milestones, and timeline is crucial to getting your project off to the right start. This will help you measure your progress and understand if you’re meeting, or failing to meet, the goals that you have set for your project. Without clear goals and success metrics, it will be difficult to understand if you are on track.
2. Make sure you have leadership buy-in.
The right sponsors can help you avoid and remove blockers from your project, so it’s important to get these individuals on board with your project ahead of time. Leadership support can also help ensure you have the right resources and budget to meet the goals of the project.
3. Make sure your project is aligned with company-wide goals.
Common goals for the organization make it easy for internal resources to prioritize your digital transformation project.
4. Select the right consulting partner.
The right consulting partner will make or break your implementation experience. A significant number of Raven Intelligence‘s project peer reviews note that they wish they did more research on their consulting partner instead of simply using the first partner that their software vendor recommended.
Look for consulting partners who are transparent with their on-time delivery, scoping accuracy, and team consistency metrics. They should be able to answer questions on their experience level with your chosen software. This is especially true if the team you meet will be the same team working on your project, and considering what industries they’ve worked in before.
Consulting Partner Advice
At Raven Intelligence, we’ve spoken with some of our top-recommended consulting partners (according to customer feedback) on how to avoid project failure. Here are their insights:
Wise Consulting on Project Preparation:
“When we talk about clients and getting prepared, one of the things we really focus on is helping the clients think about what they want to accomplish 3-5 years from now, not just rebuilding their existing system. We use our consultative expertise to plan out what they could do and what’s possible with the system to make sure they’re truly prepared.”
– Marta Williams, VP of Client Services, Wise Consulting
Sability on Getting in Front of Challenges:
“We operate by the basic principle of ‘Do the right thing and treat our customers right.’ When there are issues, we try to get in front of challenges early. Rather than brush problems under the carpet or wait, we strive to have a plan in place in case it’s needed down the road. Call it being lazy, but I don’t want my phone to ring off the hook with problems.. so we try to get it right the first time.”
– Rob Leonard, CEO, Sability
HRchitect on Moving Forward from Challenges:
“First, you do everything you can to avoid the challenges. We do everything possible that we can upfront to get it right the first time. But once you’ve had the hard talk, the focus can’t be on everything that’s going wrong. Whenever I get on a call with the client [after having the hard discussion], the goal of that call is the path forward, not backward.”
– Brian Kimball, EVP of Implementation Services, HRchitect
What can I do if I think my project is failing? How to recover
If you think your project is failing, there are still some concrete steps that you can take to make the most of your situation:
- Identify what is happening in real-time and isolate the specific points of failure
- Assess the impact on your project and organization
- Request feedback from those involved
- Adjust your plans based on your findings and team member feedback
- Set new goals for the project if needed
- Learn from your mistakes and document what happened
As the saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know until you don’t know it.” Engaging the right consulting firm early can help you avoid both costly and timely mistakes. Raven Intelligence’s peer feedback can help you learn from others who implemented the same software or used the same consulting partner as you’re considering.