IT Project on Fire: How to Save It in Two Weeks?
The current COVID-19 situation caused much trouble in every aspect of our well-adjusted life and the consequences are still to be dealt with. The world is switching to the online model, IT offices change to working remotely, new challenges appear – even technology giant such as Amazon is reported to be thrown into disarray through overloads in the delivery system. These are the situations we cannot fully prevent but can be prepared for.
Having faced more than one pressing deadline with our clients we in Umbrella IT came to the conclusion that urgent IT troubles require neither extra hours nor additional hands, but rather a special team following a special procedure.
In case of emergency, you dial 911 because you trust specially trained professionals. In the same way in case of troubles with your IT project, it’s better to have at hand some telephone number of a vendor providing professional IT rescue teams. They will in no case replace your people and do your work but will team up and bring in their troubleshooting expertise.
The IT rescue team differs from a usual development team through its internal processes providing quick onboarding, keeping the micromanagement on your part to a minimum, and bringing positive results in two weeks.
- Multi-Dimensional Supervision
- First Hours Interview
- Focus on Soft Skills
- Quick Onboarding
- Flexible Approach
- Benefits you get with a regular external IT rescue team
1. Multi-Dimensional Supervision
The first person to be involved in the troubled project is an Anti-Crisis Project Manager, an expert with a strong technical and business background experienced in getting out of crisis situations.
The above function may be assigned to any vendor’s decision-maker depending on the project specific nature. In our practice, it has proved to be practically relevant to engage C-level executives in parallel with the Anti-Crisis Project Manager as appropriate. They contribute to a quicker response and cover more possible risks. Thus, a Chief Production Officer is responsible for adequate goals setting and manages expectations while a Chief Technical Officer secures the project against sub-optimal technical decisions, and a Chief Quality Officer manages quality-related risks.
2. First Hours Interview
The first communication with Project Stakeholders is most efficient if run as an interview following a pre-made checklist. The list of questions covers the project environment from the point of view of business, processes, and technology. That is, it’s aimed to find out information on key stakeholders and target group, the background behind the deadlines; the project team and the tools applied; the infrastructure, technologies used, systems of deployment / auto-testing.
Not to forget eventual blockers: both external (vendors, partners), and internal (budgets, security) including blockers for the IT rescue team onboarding (regulations, infrastructure).
From our experience, such an initial discussion takes 1-2 hours. This is a lot in the context of urgency but required to get the full picture to draw up an action plan and allocate resources.
3. Focus on Soft Skills
Firstly, forming a specific IT rescue team depends on the project’s technical scope. The team may include DevOps to deal with the available infrastructure, and QA may work in parallel to assess the scope left, underlying potential problems, blockers, and eventual risks.
But these are not only hard skills to be considered, soft skills are also to a great extent essential. It’s important to form a team that strikes a good balance between hard and soft skills. This balance is crucially valuable within the collaborative teamwork environment, helping the rescue team to adapt quickly to the mindset and processes of the key project team when every minute counts. The less time they need for onboarding, the closer to the first successful results the project is. Moreover, the team formed taking into account technical as well as people skills will save you lots of micromanagement as their mindset is tuned for teamwork.
4. Quick Onboarding
The complete IT rescue team onboarding takes from 2 to 3 days. Within the period the Anti-Crisis Project Manager together with the project team selects the business-critical functionality and adjusts priorities. And here starts the work...
Onboarding greatly depends on the time required for the IT rescue team to get access to the repositories, environments, design tools, etc. It’s no secret that the procedure of approval, giving permissions, and signing non-disclosure agreements can be complicated and time-consuming. But this point should be given special attention otherwise the IT rescue team will have their hands tied.
5. Flexible Approach
Any emergency situation is caused by specific, non-recurring conditions, in other words, it is unique. Along with the above basic essentials Umbrella IT Rescue Team is capable of adapting to any specific conditions.
This refers to any project activity aspect:
- On the one hand, the IT rescue team can work remotely. From the global experience of the latest weeks, the fast remote support and help turn out to be a decisive factor.
- On the other hand, they are flexible in the solutions suggested.
Think, for instance, of a large-scale project that has been developed for 6 months, but 2 weeks before the deadline only 60% of scope is complete. The timing is critical, the project clearly has too many functions. In this case, the Anti-Crisis Project Manager may offer possible options: ideas to prioritize functions or simplify them and their implementation, or ready-made libraries and modules that can be used.
Benefits you get with a regular external UIT rescue team:
- Having NDA signed, you get a team anytime ready to support your project.
- Once you got acquainted with the team, you save time for the initial interview, onboarding and providing accesses.
- The supervisors of the IT rescue team bring in the best industry-specific experience and new solutions.
- The average time the IT rescue team needs to stabilize your IT project under pressing deadlines is 2 weeks.