The End Goal Matters
The “user experience” is a metric that cannot be deceived. If you have a set user experience goal in mind at the start of a project, it is easy to see whether this has been truly delivered by the end. Project managers however will be very familiar with projects that are deemed successes on paper but ultimately do not fully deliver on their promise.
Whilst every project will have its difficulties along the way, what’s staggering is that only 39% of IT projects deliver what they said they would, on time and on budget according to research conducted by the Standish Group.
Moreover, in late 2012 McKinsey, working together with Said Business School, at the University of Oxford, reported that: ‘On average, large IT projects run 45% over budget and 7% over time, while delivering 56% less value than predicted.’
Project managers and senior stakeholders have come to accept this as a sort of “fact of life”. They find themselves making sacrifices when it comes to extra time and budget to ensure that the “value of the project” to the business is maintained.
You may be asking yourself how this consistent underperformance is possible, or even acceptable. The first reaction may be to try to place the blame on incompetent project managers. But given the consistent failure rate across the entire IT industry, we doubt this is truly the reason.
Another argument is that as projects are often unique and customized, setting the parameters for “success” is incredibly difficult: different technologies, teams and issues within each project makes budget and time estimations little more than educated guesswork.
The true issue, we feel, is that the end goal simply isn’t correct. This isn’t too surprising a statement in and of itself – if you’re only meeting the goal 39% of the time, as an industry, the chances are you’re setting yourself the wrong goals!
We need to move to a culture of user experience focused IT. Moving the focus of success from time and budget towards not just features and functionality but also robustness and flexibility. This will ensure the business has truly secured a reliable competitive advantage from its investment.
But how do we get there? The first step is to ensure that you have your software testing partner that is embedded in the project from the very start. With software testing accounting for an estimated 40% of every project budget, the more aware your testing partner is of your business and its ultimate requirements the more efficiently it can work, keeping costs to a minimum.
Secondly, you need to ensure your software testing partner is a real partner in your project. Will they assist in making sure other suppliers in the project chain hold to their commitments? Can they be trusted to make the right decisions, and when to involve other business stakeholders? They should be able to answer yes to these questions.
This is where we feel Experior makes the largest difference. By using only experienced SAP consultants to manage each project, and by insisting to be involved as soon as possible, we work to make sure we’re in the 39% of projects that come in on time and on budget. But most importantly, we never lose sight of the most important goal: the User Experience.
Originally posted September 4, 2015, by Martin Mackay, Experior Group