According to a A recent survey on project failures in the IT industry, 84% of digital projects fail to meet their objectives, with most delayed, running over budget, and/or failing to deliver on what was promised. That's enough to make any manager leading a digital project break out in a cold sweat.
So, how can you avoid becoming part of this statistic? In my experience, there are a few key ingredients for ensuring digital project success. To avoid joining the 84% club, try following these simple steps.
Customer intimacy. It's essential to get to know everyone at the start of any project and develop positive relationships by first increasing awareness and understanding. At Vidatec, we begin every project with an Insights Discovery experience to help develop self, and others, awareness. As part of this, we use the 'language of colour' to ensure everyone has a common language with which to communicate. We find this upfront investment leads to projects being delivered on time, first time and within budget.
And our customers agree. Feedback – including from those involved in large global change programmes – is that this upfront investment in self, and others, awareness, and the ability to access a common language, makes most other aspects of technical projects feel easy.
Detailed scoping and resourcing. Success must be defined and agreed, effectively communicated, and adopted across the business, with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and deliverables. This should be about bringing together key personnel from across the business to ensure all aspects of the project are 'spot on.'
For example, if a project aims to improve customer engagement, what does that really mean? Does it mean increasing engagement with marketing activities? Does it mean improving customer sentiment? Or does it mean growing sales? Unless success is defined, agreed, effectively communicated, and adopted across the business, the project is likely to fail before it even begins.
End-user focus. To ensure success, any project team must understand what the end-users want, or at least, are prepared to accept and adopt. At Vidatec, we understand human behaviour: it's part of our DNA. Whether it's to improve revenues, reach new customers and markets, improve digital service delivery, or simply get ahead of the competition – we know how important the end-user experience is.
Continuous collaboration. Digital transformation projects must be properly considered in the context of the organisation, its people, and its culture. There are many examples where companies have failed to launch digital projects to support their business, for example, because it was developed as a bolt-on tool by a siloed team.
Nothing is achieved in isolation and any team wanting to deliver a successful digital project must collaborate continuously. That includes considering the overall impact on the client organisation, their internal culture, and how their customers will experience it; all must reflect the same image and values. Put simply, without being connected to all aspects of existing business operations, any innovation is at risk of failing.
Additionally, throughout my career, I've learned that you need to have people around you that you can trust, trust to give honest feedback, trust to deliver for you when you need them and trust that they will make recommendations that are right for you and for your business. So, use your team, in every aspect of your project – even if it's just for moral support.
In a post-pandemic world, a solid digital transformation strategy is fundamental to maintaining a successful business. So, in summary, share and follow these four simple strategies to ensure your digital transformation project isn't one of the 84% that fails to meet objectives or deliver what was promised.