Whether you’re the CIO of a Fortune 500 company or an IT manager at a small firm, all technology projects eventually land on your desk.
The bigger the project, the more of an opportunity to shine. Alas, no IT project comes fraught-free. As CIO.com puts it, “No great accomplishment in technology has come without a few false starts.” There are, however, steps you can take to reduce the stumbles and manage the risks of translating a request like, “We need to go mobile” into action.
For a little encouragement, CIO.com talked with 7 tech leaders to learn how they turned missteps into successes by failing fast and moving on. Here’s a sample:
Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid tells of launching a chat to simplify communicating with the tech support group. What they failed to do — this was early in the use of chatbots — was to make clear its purpose. Users thought it was just another type of chat room and were sending all sorts of peculiar messages. “We realized that with every new technology, we’ve got to be very specific in labeling it within the general product.”
Sukhi Jutla, a co-founder of MarketOrders, advises taking an iterative approach to projects, limiting the upfront focus on requirements. Taking months to decide features and requirements only delays the actual project and by the time you build in everything everyone wants, needs have changed to the point that some features are obsolete. “Aim to get a working prototype out as soon as possible to get real-world feedback from real users.”
Don’t push solutions that may be more than is needed because they are “cool,” says Vaclav Vincalek, CEO at Pacific Coast Information Systems. He once came up with a technology for a client that while cutting edge and effective “would have added cost, effort, and risks to their IT processes that just weren’t needed.” He learned to always take into account the business requirements and IT environment before proposing a solution.
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