When it comes to the world of information technology, it is critical for companies to stay ahead of the curve compared to their competition. This means that it is not enough for tech professionals to accept the status quo in terms of their businesses’ solutions. Rather than sitting back and being satisfied with existing tools, IT teams must constantly think about advancement, considering ways to improve upon what already exists – especially with regards to how technologies can better benefit their business functions and boost their performance.
As CIOs and other tech experts probably know, promoting innovation – in addition to ensuring that their companies’ laundry list of daily tasks are completed – is a tall order. That being said, if IT professionals are hoping to foster progress, then they may want to pool together their staff’s brain power and expertise, working on group projects to develop new solutions that would ultimately revolutionize how their operations run.
The key to setting up these projects for success is proper project management. While CIOs may have a slew of responsibilities on their plates, they need to guarantee projects stay on track so they render results and within a realistic timeframe. Whether they are heading these initiatives themselves or appointing another qualified representative to take the reins, there are certain strategies they should bear in mind so they can keep project moving forward, bolster collaboration and encourage innovation among team members.
Keep an upbeat approach
According to Sharon Florentine with CIO magazine, one of the most crucial aspects of IT project management is attitude. Although mentality alone will not cause tech teams to come up with game-changing concepts, having a negative mindset is likely to hinder creative and ultimately impede tech teams’ abilities to come up with revolutionary solutions.
Eric Winquist, CEO of Jama Software, explained that oftentimes, IT professionals approach a project with the attitude of a winner or loser. Generally speaking, it is with this former mindset that tech teams tend to produce results, proving to be more successful with their creative projects in the end.
“What we started to see is that organizations and IT teams that identify themselves as ‘victors’ see each project as an opportunity to innovate, to provide a new level of business value for their organizations,” Winquist told CIO magazine. ”Because of that mindset, they will be empowered, engaged and make good decisions. Their companies will be much more successful than the ‘victims.’”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, CIOs and IT executives who adopt a less positive attitude, assuming the position of the victims, could hinder their teams’ creative capabilities, and their projects may not pan out or lead to any kind of developments. For the most part, innovative projects can be thwarted by a variety of factors on which tech PMs decide to focus. If IT professions are overly concerned with cutting costs or opt to micromanage their teams, they run the risk of stifling innovation by weighing staff members down with unnecessary worries. This is not the case with managers who direct tech projects with a positive, supportive mentality.
“The victors recognize that success comes down to informed decision making,” Winquist explained. “You make decisions based on context, and to do so your employees need empowerment and authority, and to be able to gauge the impact on the business as a whole, too. So, success depends on empowering your people to make good decisions as quickly as possible.”
Be honest about roadblocks
While keeping an upbeat and empowering mentality could better promote innovation, project managers should not lose touch of the reality of a project in favor of optimism. No initiative is going to go off without a hitch, and CIOs need to be prepared to encounter obstacles and rally their team members so they can surpass these hurdles.
“All projects will have roadblocks,” Hernan Clarke, CEO of 4Sight Technologies, told CIO.
Keeping this in mind, it is crucial “to disclose the problems promptly and as honestly as possible,” he advised. “More often than not, the client and management will appreciate being brought into the loop earlier rather than later.”
After clearly communicating any issues that they come across over the course of a project, IT executives should be ready to provide some solutions. Team members can share their thoughts and present their own suggestions, but they need to know that there are some ideas in the works so morale is not dashed.