by Julie May, CEO of bytes of knowledge (b:ok)
Wouldn’t it be nice if all of your IT projects ran with assembly line-like precision and maximum efficiency? In theory, every IT firm has a “system built for that,” but how often does that system actually fulfill its promise? When you hire a vendor for an IT project, it’s important that they have an organizational and cultural commitment to working within clearly defined and proven work processes. This assures that ideas and data are put through a series of checks and balances until your project is complete.
There are four crucial questions to ask potential IT firms in order to ensure proper execution of your project:
How will you track work assignments?
IT projects have hundreds of individual elements that must be identified, assigned for action and tracked, including the issues that arise in the testing process. Keeping track of these details calls for a well-oiled system, not sticky notes.
How will you manage my digital assets?
This question applies to all of the images, content, data, software, system configurations and files that collectively represent your project. You want to make sure that these assets are secure and can be held in an easily transferrable format.
How will you track schedules and costs?
It is impossible to anticipate what issues will challenge your project or what new ideas may need to be incorporated during its development. What you should expect, however, is to always know where you are in the process — what’s been done, what’s been spent and what has not yet been addressed.
How will you keep me involved?
Good processes keep you involved every step of the way. Your IT firm should include you in the creation and development of each of the following: User story, wire framing, data models, and branding, as well as the building, development, programming, and testing stages.
Julie May is CEO of bytes of knowledge (b:ok), which she founded in 1995 with her husband, Charles. Together they have built b:ok into one of Nashville’s leading technology companies, providing digital media development and comprehensive IT services. This is Julie’s first of four guest columns on how why technology projects run over budget and past deadline and what you can do about it. Visit bytes of knowledge online at www.bytesofknowledge.com.