Before Covid-19, around 70% of organisations globally had a digital transformation strategy or were working to develop one. Today, a solid digital transformation strategy is fundamental to maintaining a successful business.
While there are many similarities between traditional project management and digital project management, a recent Standish Group CHAOS survey found that 84% of digital projects fail to meet their objectives, with most delayed, running over budget, and/or failing to deliver on what was promised. Incredibly, 31% of digital projects were either abandoned or cancelled.
So, why do digital projects fail on such a large scale and how can you avoid project failure? In my 25-years working in technology, most recently as CEO of mobile app and web development company Vidatec, I’ve identified a few simple strategies to guarantee success, and these are outlined below.
1. Invest in awareness for digital success
Often, there’s such a rush to get digital projects underway that they begin without the essential element of self-awareness in play. Self-awareness helps you better understand your personal preferences and unique style; this, in turn, means you can adapt your style to make better connections with others, creating more effective ways of working and achieving better business outcomes.
This translates for customers also. Once you better understand yourself, you can better understand your customers, which means you can build deeper, stronger relationships – ensuring you truly understand your customers, their needs, and, in turn, the needs of their customers.
At Vidatec, we begin every project with an Insights Discovery experience. This helps us build great relationships across the board and really get under the skin of a project and our customers – ensuring better outcomes.
2. Use a common language to define and scope your project
If your digital project isn’t clearly defined and scoped, it can easily be misinterpreted – which can lead to failure. This is especially true when there’s pressure to deliver to a tight timescale.
At Vidatec, we use the ‘language of colour’ to ensure alignment. For example, people with a preference for Fiery Red energy are usually strong-willed and purposeful; to collaborate with them successfully, you’re better focusing on outcomes and the best way to achieve them. Sunshine Yellow is sociable, dynamic, and persuasive, and people with this personality preference thrive on social interaction. People with strong Earth Green energy seek harmony and will appear caring and patient. Finally, Cool Blue energy is precise, deliberate and questioning; embracing this colour energy can help to enable more data-driven, better-informed decision-making.
This common language helps us establish mutual respect and understanding and avoid any friction. And our clients agree; feedback, including from those involved in large global change programmes, is that it makes most aspects of technical projects feel easy.
3. Collaborate throughout the project life cycle
Collaboration is essential to the success of any digital transformation project. There are too many examples where companies have failed to launch a new mobile app to support their business, for example, because it was developed as a bolt-on tool by a siloed team.
Nothing is achieved in isolation and that teams must collaborate continuously. Bringing everyone together to share the vision, discuss and agree roles, responsibilities, and deliverables – and maintaining this approach throughout the project – allows the team to perform at their collective best. It also means digital projects are better defined, scoped and resourced – and delivered.
4. Never lose sight of the detail
With these strategies in place, drill into the technical detail and establish exactly what’s needed. This applies whether starting from scratch or overhauling an existing product or portfolio. This should be about bringing together key personnel from across the business to ensure all technical aspects are spot-on. It’s about exploring detail in areas such as user-personas and branding, as well as app and web design.
Never lose sight of the detail as the project progresses. I’ve seen plenty of digital projects fail because key personal have relied on ‘best laid plans’. Ensure your project manager and project team are invested in success and take the necessary steps to keep the project advancing at pace, and in accordance with the agreed plan.
These simple strategies will help set you up for digital project success and can guarantee digital success for your business and for your customers.
About the Author
Greig Johnston is CEO at Vidatec. He has worked in the technology sector for over 25-years, buying and selling technology services. He specialises in helping businesses of all sizes develop digital strategies that deliver an exceptional end user experience on mobile and web.