Come Together: How to Manage Internal Opinions, Expectations, and Perspectives for Enterprise Technology Initiatives

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Guest post from LiveWorx Sponsor Janeiro Digital, Justin Bingham, CTO

As a technology leader, you need a thoughtful technical strategy that will deliver on business objectives. This unification of business and technology depends on processes, people, and enabling technology. Transformational technology projects aren’t just about one system or one business unit’s need. Rather, they’re about unifying an entire organization’s needs over time. This level of expansive thinking around transformational technology initiatives is what makes certain organizations industry leaders.

That said, managing the actual execution of technology projects and infusing innovative thinking into the company culture can be difficult. Some organizations struggle with the fear of the unknown, while others are detrimentally addicted to change. Whether your business is risk-averse or addicted to technological trends, rest assured there are tactics for moving forward.

Below are three key best practices organizations should incorporate to manage the successful execution and ongoing management of technology initiatives:

1. Align internal stakeholders.

Internal stakeholders can sometimes have difficulty grasping how a new technical capability is going to function based solely on design comps and specifications, so it’s important to clearly map the business goals of the initiative to the means through which those are achieved. Equally important is reserving time for stakeholders to review and approve the technology as it evolves, so there’s plenty of time to incorporate their feedback into the process. By incorporating them into the evolution early and often, changes can be made without jeopardizing project timelines.

2. Recognize dependencies.

Even the most well-intentioned projects have hidden pitfalls that run the risk of derailing an entire effort. To prevent this, identify your dependencies before any work begins by asking the following questions:

  • Do our end users have a voice? If you don’t have a comprehensive user experience strategy intermixed with your product planning there’s a great chance that what you’re building isn’t something people are going to use.
  • What kind of integration dependencies do we have? Is our solution dependent on other data sources or applications? What level of control do we have over ensuring that we’re able to leverage these effectively?
  • What internal processes or explicit approvals will be needed to achieve go-live? Are there any corporate policies or additional stakeholders that haven’t been accounted for yet? Make sure that they are willing and available to participate rather than have them create a ruckus right before you’re ready to go to production.
  • Are there any security concerns that need to be addressed, like adherence to an Enterprise Security Policy, or regulatory compliance like HIPAA or PCI? Make sure that’s factored into your design, scope, and strategy from the start.
  • How will we measure success? If you don’t know what a successful initiative means, and how to measure it, then you’re sailing towards troubled waters. Make sure that you’ve defined both quantitative and qualitative ways to determine whether the initiative is delivering on its promises post-release, and ensure that you build mechanisms to provide those answers into your system.

3. Focus your Roadmap.

When determining which features to include in which releases, there will be no shortage of input and opinions will from stakeholders across the board. A lot of this will be important, and some of it will be superfluous. This is where you’ll want to leverage the research the research you’ve compiled during product strategy and user experience tracks. You should give priority to the features that deliver key value to the end users, and support the primary business goals of the system. If something doesn’t make that list, question whether it should be in your first or second release. If everything on that list falls into that bucket, then force rank, or group by persona.  It’s typically better to deliver a lot of value to a couple user groups in the first release than a miniscule amount of value to all of them.

Enterprise technology initiatives are no easy feat, especially when multiple teams are involved. Even the most streamlined organizations can fall victim to assumptions and ambiguity, so it’s crucial to prioritize open communication across all stakeholders and clearly define the project being delivered. By being realistic about dependencies and timelines, and continuing to validate expectations throughout the project to all parties involved, issues won’t fester and teams can stay aligned. Even more importantly, by avoiding the pitfall of incorporating technology for technology’s sake, organizations can thoughtfully design and execute on projects that directly correspond to their business’s unique goals and needs.

To learn more about business processes related to digital transformation for the enterprise, register for LiveWorx 2018, June 17-20 in Boston!

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