5 Best Practices for IT Delivery Excellence
Software businesses around the globe operate in a highly challenging, competitive and dynamic environment. With evolving technology trends, increasing customer expectations, and market competition forever on the rise, what could be the best strategy to stand out and become a market leader?
Your IT business needs a solid survival plan, an innovative outlook and quick adaptability to digital trends in order to stay ahead in the competition. But most importantly, you need to focus on what matters the most; excellent service delivery.
Excellence in IT delivery leads to greater trust and loyalty among customers as well as enhanced brand image among competitors and partners. If you’re aspiring to achieve this goal you need a solid strategy, sensible leadership, several organizational, and framework changes, and years of continued practice.
Below are five IT best practices to ensure delivery excellence across your software projects.
Understanding Service Level Agreements
Software projects are time sensitive and run on SLAs agreed upon by the customer and the vendor. Every SLA defines the service levels expected by the customer and the metrics based on which service performance is measured.
IT vendors often fail to understand the importance of Service Level Agreements, and end up biting off more than they can chew. They agree to unrealistic SLAs in order to please the customer to only disappoint them later by not delivering what was promised. It is therefore best to set up realistic, achievable and measurable SLAs and sticking to them while on the project.
Simplifying IT processes
Modern software projects are exceedingly complex. Customized product developments, cross-functionalities, platform synchronizations, system integrations; there is so much to look after. Not to forget stringent timelines and varying customer specifications and evolving technology complexity.
In such pressurized and challenging environments, the key responsibility of a project manager is to simplify these complex tasks, thereby improving functional efficiencies. Break down bigger activities, put checklists in place wherever possible, involve the whole team in the planning process and instead of getting more things done, focus on getting lesser things done right. Using automated tools, component factory to build blocks, rapid prototyping and showcasing helps in simplifying processes and driving efficiency.
Standardizing delivery architecture
Many software projects collapse because individuals follow development methodologies and procedures convenient to them. It leads to inconsistency in the team and impacts the end result.
There needs to be a standard delivery process in order to ensure effectiveness, maximize productivity and minimize deviations. This can be done by identifying the best possible ways to do each task and ensuring that every person in the organization follows it. Standardization also makes way for automation in the long run.
In most service organizations, customers define development methodologies. However, not all customers have robust frameworks. One size doesn’t really fit all. Especially, when working with small enterprises, it is best to have homegrown development methodologies that can be tailored as per customer needs. Several projects fail right at the first step without having correctly defined methodologies, defined KPIs to track real progress.
Strengthening mutual relationships
Beyond technical abilities, soft skills too play a vital role in the success of any project. Companies that focus only on IT excellence need to understand the importance of good customer interaction as well as interpersonal communication within IT teams.
Effective communication with the client helps understanding technical business requirements, changing demands and suggestions/feedback. At the same time, smooth interaction within internal IT teams improves overall productivity and creates a pleasant work environment. A DevOps consultant can be helpful in ensuring effective communication with the customer as well as within the engineering teams.
The software industry is perhaps the most dynamic and rapidly evolving landscape. If you wish to survive in this challenging environment, you must be willing to adapt to change sooner than competitors and offer customers innovative technology services before they demand it.
In order to make this a reality, it is important to establish enterprise-wide flexibility within people, processes and technologies. Embrace new-age technology before it becomes a must-have, improvise business processes with time and lastly enhance the skills of your people with evolving digital trends.
Achieving excellence in IT delivery is not a piece of cake, and definitely not a one-day task. There is obviously no predefined formula for success across all scenarios. Whether it is a development project, system integration, migration or upgrade, everything has to be situation specific from the base version outlining clear metrics & practices.
It is a result of establishing enterprise-wide best practices and following them every single day. It is a cultural transformation, and it’s never too late to adopt these IT delivery best practices at your organization.
Ravindra H S
MD and Head of India Operations, Estuate
Ravindra is a seasoned IT leader with over three decades of experience in IT Strategy & Leadership, Service Delivery, Business Alliances, Project Management, Migrations, Automation and People Management. He is Estuate's Managing Director and Head of India Operations.