Imagine this scenario: Your company has decided to go with external IT services in Atlanta and you are in charge of making it happen. You have the vendor, budget, even a tentative schedule, but you also must manage the expectations of non-IT employees, from the owner down, which in the past has proven to be extremely difficult. What do you do? Read on for some tips on how to manage expectations and ensure happy end users after an IT migration.
Build the Right Team
You need to have technical expertise, but you also need a group that can communicate with non-IT people. They have to be patient, good at training and great at breaking down difficult concepts and schedules into easily digestible concepts. Further, they have to comprehend the importance of a schedule and be willing to give honest assessments of how long something will take.
Use a Discovery Period
When a major IT project is announced, end users immediately start framing their work oriented to the projected completion date. By building in a discovery period, end users can get a sense of the scope of a project and project personnel can get a sense of what it will take to achieve a product everyone is satisfied with. The purpose of the discovery period is to define the scope of the change and detail any end-user concerns, needs or desires.
Build in Delay Time (But Don’t Tell Anyone)
Delays happen, especially with IT projects and particularly with external IT services. Users change their requirements, migration steps do not go as planned, other work takes priority, stuff happens. A big mistake IT project managers make is to not build time for delays or to not build enough time for delays into their final schedule.
To address that, build in 20% more time than your staff says is necessary, keep it to yourself and only use it if necessary.
Communicate Often and Be Honest
Actively engaging end users and managers as part of your project management program is critical. People hate not knowing something. If an IT project seems to be slogging along with no end in sight, end users will become anxious. By holding regular update meetings their concerns can be addressed.
Be honest in what you tell them. No one likes bad news, but it is inevitable. Get it out early.
These basic steps will make your migration over to IT services in Atlanta a lot smoother. They also will help you set expectations.