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Improve IT project communication and live happily ever after

According to research conducted in 2015 by the Standish Group and published in the aptly titled Chaos report, less than 30% of technology-related projects will see successful completion. Less than ⅓! That sounds unbelievable!

Some of you may think: but what does that have to do with the title of this article? Surely all these failures must be the result of indecisive customers changing their plans or incompetent service providers being overly confident in their capabilities. I know what type of product I need and I hire only reputable software houses, so this problem does not concern me. Are you sure?

Do you know why this attitude is wrong? Because the number one reason of failure in IT projects is factors unrelated to IT, with project suspension being just one of the many possibilities. Besides that, the nail in the coffin can be something far less obvious, like ineffective IT project communication.

Consequences of bad IT project communication

Let’s start with the fact that project management requires sharing information. This may seem obvious. But can you recall the many times you simply agreed in resignation because you just lost the will to explain the same thing over and over again? And how many times did you stop inquiring out of fear of being labelled incompetent? Or how many times did you refrain from asking someone to repeat the details, thinking that surely you would remember everything? That’s right.

What are the potential pitfalls of sloppy IT project communication? The software house failing to meet expectations, the customer getting frustrated, the product not meeting requirements, the need for constant corrections, a bad opinion in the industry – for both parties – and finally, the complete failure of the project! But all of this can be avoided.

What causes bad IT project communication?

The reasons for poor communication are several factors:

  • Misunderstandings and conjectures
  • The curse of knowledge – being convinced that others know just as much as you do
  • Lack of attention to detail, treating things superficially
  • Lack of involvement, not checking things twice or asking questions
  • Lack of regular meetings and summaries.

The problem with ensuring proper communication between the stakeholders of a project may be the result of a flawed, task-based approach. Communication seen as a one-off task (or a set of individual tasks) is doomed to fail.

What distinguishes good IT project communication?

You already know what does not and should not constitute communication. But what exactly is communication? IT project communication is a process and joint work. For a project to go according to plan, there must be a willingness to communicate. It’s as simple as that. If you assume that the first stage of a project is ensuring the quality of communication, you will avoid numerous problems down the line.

What can be done to ensure that IT project communication does not lead to the failure of the project? How to improve IT project communication when you know that it is bad? Here is some advice:

  • Examine the needs and clearly define the goals, so that you are able to verify whether the project is straying away from the initial concept
  • Pass on all of your expertise regarding the project to the service provider – write it down in a clear document
  • Make sure that the other party understands fully what you are communicating
  • Take time to organize regular meetings and conduct them according to agenda, preparing subjects to cover in advance
  • Always be in the project, i.e. promptly answer all questions, keep up-to-date with progress and regularly compare output with expectations
  • Don’t be afraid to comment and ask even seemingly obvious questions.

Software Engineers - development team

How do we do it at Idego?

At Idego, we know that not everyone is knowledgeable in the field of technology. But that’s where we come in. We always strive to find common language with our customers and build mutual trust, which we consider just as important as documents and briefings.

As a service provider, we feel we are obligated not only to deliver the project. We know that we are also responsible for customer satisfaction. That is why as much as 90% of our customers continue to do business with us! How do we do it? Most importantly, we

  • always strive to understand the needs of our customers as best we can, we inquire and never stop until we are sure
  • …when communicating with clients, we avoid unnecessary jargon, because we speak the language of people, not computers
  • regularly reply to emails, readily talk on the phone and like to meet face-to-face
  • take the initiative, suggest interesting and new solutions
  • go for transparency – we inform our customers of current progress and keep nothing from them
  • are happy to educate, explain and clarify.

We play on the same team as our customer. We know how to conduct and how to improve IT project communication and we fulfil our role. Want to know more? Drop us a line!

cto - Chris Gibas

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