Ever undertaken any home renovation project? Even just a bit of simple decorating? Did it go smoothly? Was everything exactly as it appeared or did you get a shock when you pulled that first piece of wallpaper off and discovered it was holding up the roof?!!
IT projects are similar to any other project. The best quote or estimate in the world cannot foresee every possible issue that’s going to come up. We’ve got a lot of fancy tools, a decades of experience, to get as close as possible BUT even we haven’t got a crystal ball.
To try and prevent problems we’ve listed the 8 most common problems we encounter during a project. These cause over runs and increased costs. Whilst some might be unavoidable just knowing they’re a possibility can make getting through them easier. Forewarned is forearmed! However most can be headed of at the pass with good planning and open communication.
Why The Price of Your IT Project Might Increase: No.1 Old Software
Getting a shiny new operating system like Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019 is great but have you told us about every little bit of software you use? What about the 10 year old version of Sage that you’ve never upgraded? The 2010 version does exactly what you want it to do and is easy to use. Mentioning that half way through the project is going to cause a problem! There may well be ways that old or obscure piece of software can be made to play nicely with all your new stuff. But we need to investigate that before we’ve taken everything offline and your old server is in the back of the van!
File this under ‘very avoidable’. We’ll ask the question, we’ll even run tools to identify all the apps and programs on your systems. But you’ll be amazed how well people hide things. So if your determined to continue using Lotus Notes then talk to us before the project starts!
No 2. Keeping The Project Quiet
The second reason why the price of your IT project might increase comes down to communication within your business. This is especially relevant when your introducing something like Multi-Factor Authentication. Every member of staff is going to be effected by something like this. So they need to be aware of it.
We’ll provide you with instructions but you need to get them out to your people. And make sure they follow them. You’ll be surprised to learn that an email from the external IT support team asking people to do something is ignored far more often than the same email from the Managing Director!
Why The Price of Your IT Project Might Increase: No 3 Third Parties
This is the first of our reasons why the price of Your IT project might increase that might be tough to avoid. Anything with more than one party involved can get complex.
It can be as simple as a piece of equipment arriving late. It can be more serious. If the installation of your broadband is cancelled then our ability to get your email up and running might be compromised!
Working together we can try to mitigate. Again communication is key. Building in as much contingency as possible with timings is also good. And having a Plan B to ensure you can keep working is vital. This can all be discussed in the planning stage.
A third party delaying a project can be annoying. But it’s a shared annoyance. Sometimes things are just beyond our control. Rest assured we’ll be doing everything we can to get things back on track. The delay is likely to be costing us as much, if not more, than it is you!
No 4 Expect the Unexpected
Planning meetings and site surveys have gone well. It’s a relatively simple job. The engineer has done this a hundred times and nothing has ever gone wrong. Until today.
We are dealing with temperamental pieces of equipment. The brand new router might be faulty. There could be a frayed network cable. The cabling might have been hanging on by a thread. The new equipment might trip the power out. Sometimes data just doesn’t want to copy. Other times it will. Just painfully sloooooowly.
Sometimes the unexpected happens. We’ll communicate and roll with the punches to get you the outcome you need.
No 5 Interruptions
Want to know 7 words 100% guaranteed to delay a project? ‘Whilst you are here can you just…..’
The engineer has a plan of work to carry out. If you’ve got a problem with Outlook call the Service Desk. Don’t ask the engineer to leave what they are doing to help you open an attachment.
Nobody wants to be rude. Our guys go out of their way to help whenever they can. But if you are constantly pulling them away from the project it will take longer.
Why The Price of Your IT Project Might Increase: No 6 Watching The Clock
We’ll set out the scope of a project at the start and provide a quote. If that includes one days labour that means that’s how long the project will take. This does not necessarily mean the engineer will be with you for a full day. Preparation takes time. Take into account the time spent sourcing the equipment for the job. Configuring things off-site. Chasing suppliers and third-parties.
If we do overestimate how long a project will take, we’ll reimburse you. But it’s far more likely we’ll take a bit longer and we’ll absorb the cost.
No 7 Scope Creep
This is the Big Brother of our No. 5 reason why the price of Your IT project might increase. Lets use the house renovation analogy again.
You bring in a decorator and ask him to decorate the lounge. Whilst he’s there you ask him to do the hall too. That is scope creep. You’ve given the scope of the project. It’s to decorate one room. Then you ask for more. This places the tradesman in an awkward position. You’re the client, he doesn’t want to say no. But this is clearly a bigger job. It now needs more time, and more materials. It’s going to cost more. And the decorator doesn’t know what is lurking in the hall. It could need plastering for example. The job has not been planned. And it could be a nightmare.
The same can happen with an IT job. Make sure that you agree at the start ALL the work you want carried out. If you ask for me as you go along expect to pay more and for the project to take longer.
No 8 Human Error
We all make mistakes. Projects have a lot of moving parts. We plan and plan but errors can, and do, happen. We are all only human. If we make a mistake we vow to hold our hands up. We’ll tell you what the issue is and how we’ll rectify it. We believe honesty is the best policy.
And this works both ways. If you’ve forgotten something tell us. If you’ve not told your staff the change is happening talk to us. The more we communicate the better the project will go.
It’s Not As Bad As It Sounds
The majority of IT projects go to plan. We literally carry out 100’s of them. From server and infrastructure replacements, down to installing a couple of PC’s. From installing firewalls to migrating 100+ people to Microsoft 365. Major problems are very few and far between.
But knowing about what can go wrong helps us all guard against it. And that’s the reason why we’ve written this article.
If we’ve not put you off then we promise* your next IT project with us will go perfectly! If you’d like to discuss your next project with us you can contact us with a form, a phone call on 0115 8220200. We look forward to talking to you!
* this promise was made by a marketing person – it has no technical merit and is NOT a guarantee!