In March of 2020, as the COVID-19 Pandemic started its exponential spread, companies were compelled to shutter its one or more office hubs and send its employees home. But since the business “show” must always go on, tremendous effort and resources were immediately allocated for expanding (and, in some cases, just enabling) remote support of its critical IT business services. Previously prioritized IT project work (be it new or enhancement work) was pushed to a backlog. Now as society is starting the process of re-opening, it would seem to make sense for companies to get back to that IT project backlog and push its priorities back up. But are the priorities the same now - will December 2020 look the same as December 2019?
Many companies, after an initial capital investment, are finding remote IT support can work, can be cheaper and does lead to a happier and more productive workforce. They have adjusted their teams and processes to be able to support this new mode of delivery. As such, each set of assumptions made for an IT project when it was created, scoped or prioritized in 2019 could have, in many cases has, changed – some rather dramatically. Before any changes in assumptions or prioritization can be done, there must be some kind of a current Operational Readiness Assessment post-pandemic. That is, are the People, Processes and Technology as they exist now, suitably ready to facilitate the previous assumptions of an implementation and support for new or enhanced service on-going?
Several assumptions or set of original expectations need to be re-evaluated and, likely, be re-defined with any adjustments necessary. While certainly not a complete list, some areas of suggested concentration would be:
Infrastructure: Evaluating the original assumed or proposed infrastructure to ensure it is still most current, sufficiently scoped, available, and has sufficient capacity (including updated projected growth).
Service Assumptions: The support services of 2021 will not likely look or cost the same as they did in 2019. The possible move to remote IT and/or Project team delivery has to be evaluated against assumptions made for implementation and on-going support.
SCHEDULE – SCOPE – COST: The golden standard for managing a Project or Program starts with clearly defining the customer’s weight or prioritization for these three controlling factors. The pandemic-driven delay in implementation and/or change in delivery model for a project could push one of these to the top.
Governance: The reliance on Project governance is always critical in Project success. But with the shift in services to a remote model, governance has to be strongly defined.
From both a personal and business sense, we have all spent 2020 trying to “stay alive and healthy”. As companies and its employees emerge from the shadows as a result of this unprecedented controlled shut-down, we all know nothing will be exactly the same. While there will be the temptation to jump right back to where we left off as soon as possible, there has to be an effort to evaluate and redefine exactly where you are jumping off from and into.
About John Sheehan:
John Sheehan is a certified ITIL Master, ServiceNow Administrator and leads the practice for Service Management and ServiceNow implementations for Morris Technology Solutions. John has more than 25 years in the IT Services industry.