Mind the Gap – 7 watch-outs to avoid becoming another digital project failure statistic

The stats around failure of digital projects are well known, anywhere between 50-90% fail completely, or fall short of their expected benefits. There are many reasons why this might happen, but we believe the majority come down to a lack of end to end thinking and capability.

With this in mind, here are our 7 key watch-outs for digital projects:

1. Customer need

Does this project meet a customer need or solve a problem? If not, then this is likely a shiny object, which has temporarily distracted everyone from what is really important. Not every project needs to have a customer benefit, but if this project is technology-led, it will quickly be exposed and cancelled.


2. Strategic alignment

Can you articulate what this project is and why it is important in 30 seconds? If not, it is doomed. Leaders across the organisation need to ‘get it’, so there is unified support at senior levels. Otherwise, competing agendas will overtake the project and it will sink.


3. Business consultation

Has the wider business been consulted, or have the digital team just run off and started building? There is always a temptation to charge ahead once executive approval is given, but this stores up problems for later. Ensure the wider business has had their say, so it will fit with the processes and operating model.


4. Design artefacts

What are the developers expecting? Are the design team set up to deliver it? Designers can create beautiful wireframes and prototypes, but if they are not communicating to the development team, in a language they understand, then things can quickly go wrong.


5. Product ownership

Once the project is in development, it is easy to focus on the short term wins and lose track of the overall objective. A product owner will ensure decisions are made in the best interests of customers and the business, not what is easiest for the team.


6. Test scripts

Who is responsible for creating the test scripts? Is it the BAs, the designers or the developers? Almost certainly they’re all expecting it is someone else. Test scripts should be simple but because they are needed at a high stress time in the project, they cause a lot of antagonism.


7. Benefits realisation

Have success factors been agreed upfront? If this is not the case, then the success or failure of the project will descend into acrimonious squabbling as everyone finds evidence that backs their perspective.


Getting these elements right gives your digital project the best possible chance of success.  However more often than not, we are called in when one or more issue has already come up.  We recognise these projects can be hard to get right, which is why our team have the skills and experience to make you successful.

To learn more about how we can help, check out our services or reach out to Colin.


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