When it comes to IT projects, too many fail to come in on time, on budget, or fully complete in terms of scope. With many CIOs articulating the need to raise the return on investment for IT, it can be helpful to draw inspiration from an unlikely source: the doctor's office. Here are five essential doctor's office lessons we routinely apply to IT project management.
1. Being outcome-driven ensures you always start with your customers' needs first.
While outcomes are essential, they do not usurp the needs of your customers. Just as a doctor focuses on the patient first, we find IT project are most successful when they do not lose sight of customer needs and the user experience. By operating around a customer-first concept, staff ensure a desired outcome and increased customer satisfaction
2. Both doctors and nurses play an important role in your care. Their skill sets are complementary, not competitive.
IT services should not be a competition. With every project, there is more than enough work to go around. Where a nurse provides information for the doctor that focuses information on the patient, your IT operators can take some pressure off your IT engineers by freeing up their time to innovate. Teamwork among staff with different strengths is essential to bring the project to successful completion.
3. If your bedside manner is lacking, your patients will find a new doctor.
Staff are expected to be courteous and friendly when working with one another and with clients. Customer satisfaction comes first, whether it’s a physician attending to his patient or an IT engineering staff dedicating itself to a positive customer experience.
4. They already know you're smart, so lay off the highly technical terms. It's a rare customer who speaks your team's lingo.
Insist all staff know how to explain projects in plain English, without resorting to jargon. A doctor needs to distill a complicated diagnosis down when explaining it to a patient and your IT team should take the same approach when interacting with customers.
5. Treat the patient, not the symptoms.
Sometimes doctors need to step back and look at the patient as a whole person in order to appropriately make a diagnosis and figure out the best form of treatment. When a project isn't coming together, it can help to take a step back and look at the overall project goals, what is and isn't working, and re-examine the flow chart. By looking at the whole project, you can more readily identify and correct errors.