What does a successful technology rollout project look like for your organization?
Just as large organizations come with their own set of inherent complexities, managing a technology upgrade or rollout for 100+ stores can be difficult. For more than 25 years, Optus has been managing technology projects for multi-site companies, and we have learned a few things that we employ on all our managed projects.
1. BUILD PROJECT TIMELINES THAT MAKE SENSE TO THE UNIQUE BUSINESS
First, you must be aware of the immediate business needs. The easiest way of accomplishing this is to have the right stakeholders as part of your project team. Also, you need a clear scope of work for each site.
2. MINIMIZE “IRONS IN THE FIRE”
It is the utmost importance to have an undisputed manager of the project. A successful project manager is a person who has the most up-to-date progress information, can answer questions at a moment’s notice and is the authority on all things within the scope of the project.
3. PLAN TO WORK AROUND OPERATIONAL NEEDS AT EACH LOCATION
Minimizing business disruptions is an essential part of successful project execution. Projects may need to be completed region by region, based on the functional reporting structure, or be calendar driven. For most organizations going live during the usual 8 to 5 workday is not feasible, so plan for an afterhours cutover.
4. DESIGN THE OVERALL PROJECT PLAN TO INCLUDE SHORT SPRINTS
During a long, arduous project the finish line can seem very distant. Multi-site projects have the unparalleled ability to be able to be segmented into smaller sprints. Project sprints let the organization team members essentially reap a sense of accomplishment faster and mark off to-dos from the list.
5. BE CONSISTENT ABOUT PROJECT COMMUNICATION
Project communication may sound like a no-brainer, but in Optus’ experience projects are rarely successful when communication is not a top priority for the team. At a minimum conduct weekly update calls or meetings. Utilize a standard meeting template and include actions, significant decisions, and the general agenda. After each meeting send out the updated version for all team members and stakeholders to reference.
6. CURTAIL SURPRISES FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL SITE
There are very few organizations where all sites are identical and thus can cause issues when executing a technology rollout. For a successful deployment, it is essential to have intimate knowledge of each site’s infrastructure before you start the project. The best way to do this is to have an up to date inventory for each site, site blueprints or layouts, and even site surveys. Subtle differences in where technology is located at each location, such as the wiring closet, can cause delays.
7. SUPPLY DOCUMENTATION AT THE RIGHT TIME
Documentation for implementation, processes, and training can make or break a project. It is crucial to have hands-on documents for implementation because not just one technician is completing all the work. There needs to be documentation that can be sent to each site for the technicians to complete the installation. Also, don’t forget about the end users—the project isn’t complete until the employees are trained, and the technology is working correctly.
8. WHEN POSSIBLE UTILIZE PRE-CONFIGURED AND STAGED HARDWARE
In pre-configured technology, all the necessary programming is completed before installing the equipment. The individual hardware items are staged or partially assembled as they will be at the site. Preconfiguration and staging allow technicians to “plug and play” during deployment. The process reduces installation time dramatically because multiple pieces of hardware can be shipped to the correct store at one time, reducing the vendor risk on the projects.
9. COMPLETION SIGN OFF AT EACH SITE
Projects are not completed until each location is up and running and happy. To ensure full completion, institute a project completion sign off for the site manager or operations manager.
Optus is an all-inclusive IT and communications service partner that manages the day-to-day, behind the scenes, thankless tasks to make your life easier. We handle everything from structured cabling and phone systems to surveillance and technology rollouts. We may not play on the cutting edge, but we are the most experienced and most reliable. To learn more, read how we partner with national brands Enterprise Rent-A-Car and O'Reilly Auto Parts.