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Top 10 Hints for IT Transformation (Cont.): Plan at the Beginning, Middle and End of Projects

Number nine in my series of articles on IT Transformation Hints.  Thank you to everyone that’s been following along!  If this is the first article you’ve read in the series, and you want to read the rest, you can find a list of my previous blogs at the end of this post.  Be sure to start with IT Transformation – Top 10 Hints.

 

A lot of my blogs talk about planning, but in several cases I’ve tried to make sure that you don’t over-plan.  Despite the title of this blog, I am not changing my stance.  I still think that planning and execution are a balance, but I want to reinforce the importance of proper planning.  Not over-planning but appropriate planning – and it isn’t finished once you start execution.

 

Many people (sometimes begrudgingly!) plan.  They build their project plans, their risk logs, their action plans, their governance meetings, and more.  The problem I see is that lot of organizations look at their plan as “cast in concrete” once complete.  Yes, plans should not constantly change, or change without proper review and discussion, but in this day and age agility is important.  Cloud computing, changes in data center design, new hardware and software are announced daily it seems, mobility growing by leaps and bounds – all this means we (IT) needs to more adaptive.  We need to be flexible in our implementations, always watching to see if the changes around us require us to change what we are doing.

 

The days of executing a plan exactly as originally laid out are gone, if they ever existed at all.  Yes, adhere to your plan, that’s why it was created, but be aware of what is going on around you.  Our environments, our businesses, our technologies are all changing rapidly, and we need to do the same.  Program Managers need to review their plans as diligently as they do risk and issues logs and ensure they are still the right plans.  Again, I’m not saying that plans should be changed on a whim. But all programs, especially long-running ones, require some amount of change.

 

Some thoughts…

1)     Have regular plan reviews.  Not just to check where you are but to check you are still heading in the right direction.  Discuss industry changes, technology changes, business changes, and see if there is impact to your plan.

2)     When a problem with cost or schedule arises, focus on it and fix it, but also check that some outside influence hasn’t shifted your plan, and so needs to be accounted for.

3)     Keep an eye on technology; sometimes a project will benefit from a new technology.  Be careful, though – not all technology needs to be included right away.  Change technology because the end result is better, not just because there is a new technology.

4)     When the project is over, the planning isn’t.  Make sure all items are truly complete. Documentation needs to be finalized and stored, and don’t forget to hold post-implementation reviews.  There are lessons you can learn that will help in the future – things you did right and things that can be improved. 

 

So do…

  • Upfront planning
  • Ongoing review and updates to your plan as needed, and
  • Post-implementation review for lessons learned

And don’t

  • Be afraid to change a plan, or
  • Change a plan unnecessarily

Planning is critical at all phases – beginning, middle, and end.  Make sure your project runs smoothly with good planning and good maintenance of your plan!

 

For those of you that haven’t viewed the Top 10 Tips video (or want to watch it again), it can be found at: Episode Overview: Top 10 Tips for Planning Your IT Transformation

 

Learn more about HP Data Center Transformation Services and how HP can help you plan your next project.

 

For a great example of how HP can help organizations plan a major IT transformation initiative – and reduce risk – read how one company tested and refined its formula for IT virtualization.

 

Previous blogs in this series:

IT Transformation: --Top 10 Hints

Top 10 Hints for IT Transformation (Continued): Don’t Underestimate What You Don’t Know

Top 10 Hints for IT Transformation (Continued): Understanding the Current State Will be a Challenge

Top 10 Hints for IT Transformation (Continued): Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail

Top 10 Hints for IT Transformation (Cont.): Risk Is Inevitable – Plan But Don't Over Plan!

Top 10 Hints for IT Transformation (Cont.): Choosing Is Losing

Top 10 Hints for IT Transformation (Cont.): Don’t Mistake Heavyweight Processes for Good Planning

Top 10 Hints for IT Transformation (Cont.): Beware of Solving Their Problems Through Your Program

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About the Author
Mark joined HP in January 2007 as a Business Consultant for the Data Center Transformation team. His role is to assist HP customers in dete...
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