The technology components of many business initiatives are implemented at once, typically near the end of the project. When misalignment occurs between the business needs and the technology delivered, it often leads to cost overruns, extended timelines, and frustrated customers. As a result, businesses do not realize the anticipated outcomes and return on investment, which can have a cascading negative effect on other initiatives.
The IT leadership for this equipment and services organization recognized that with the many priorities competing for their finite resources, they had to change their implementation approach to produce business value faster and reduce the risk of misaligned deliverables.
The client engaged Freed Associates to identify and implement a methodology that would simultaneously increase throughput and quality. Freed worked closely with the client’s IT organization to assess the team’s strengths, culture, and project portfolio. Concurrently, Freed assumed management of an existing project that would provide practical experience to incorporate into the assessment.
Freed recommended Agile Project Management, an iterative methodology to identify requirements and implement solutions that delivers business value earlier in the project and allows for flexibility to incorporate changes during the project. Prior to this approach, business requirements were often vague and communicated informally, leaving too much room for interpretation by IT. Freed recognized the need to engage business stakeholders throughout the projects and identified Agile as a way to fulfill this need.
To pilot the Agile methodology, the client and Freed selected a key project mired in standstill. Leading up to the kickoff, the Freed team delivered a communication plan that explained the approach to the stakeholders, trained the project team members, identified success factors, and developed an extensive set of project templates to manage the approach. Freed managed the pilot project, soliciting feedback from the team members along the way, monitoring the success factors and making adjustments to improve the approach.
The pilot project succeeded in its goals, enabling the organization to roll out the technology approximately 30% earlier than their previous approach would have allowed. With the earlier rollout, the stakeholders could measure real world usage to better prioritize additional features for implementation.
Since adopting Agile Project Management for much of its portfolio, the client’s IT department has been able to forecast project deliverables more accurately and to pivot quickly when issues arise. In addition, it helped transform the interaction between IT and other business lines, creating much stronger partnerships, which contributed to better outcomes more quickly.
Response from the client has been very positive. The IT leadership commended Freed’s strong collaboration, understanding of the organization, and implementation of a solution tailored to its needs. They also cited how well Freed transitioned the initiative to the client team and empowered them to be successful.