Every now and then, I get brought in to trouble shoot a payments initiative gone awry. For the last week I was hunkered down in triage mode with a client team suffering from a derailed project. They were exhausted, drowning in user complaints, struggling to fix bugs, and disillusioned with their vendor.
I’ve thought long and hard on why projects fail and how to avoid disaster, and time and time again, there are opportunities to learn fresh lessons. In this particular case, rescue is on its way. We were successful in obtaining a commitment for additional resources and have senior management’s focus on the problem. We’ve identified root causes and outlined a game plan to get the project back on track. But its going to take many months of concerted effort by the team and consistent support from key stakeholders and senior executives to ensure that the new process and technology are successfully adopted.
Before you embark on a significant process change or technology effort, whether it involves payments or not, ask yourself these tough questions:
- Do I have clearly defined, measurable objectives?
- Have I solicited input from the end users of my solution – customers? vendors? employees?
- Are my requirements specific? Is the project scope well defined?
- Do I have a plan? A real plan.
- Is my cost estimate sound? Is the schedule realistic? Am I sure?
- Do I have adequate resources? Do they have the right skill set?
- Does the solution have integrity? How well did I vet my vendor partner?
- Do I have adequate senior leadership support? Active support?
- Do I have a communication plan? How will I escalate issues? Promote successes?
- How will I avoid ignoring warning signals when the going gets tough? (It will.)