Overcoming the growing complexity of project management and delivery

A disastrous Oracle rollout has been blamed (in part) for nearly bankrupting Birmingham City Council. The new IT system needs circa £46.53m to fix ongoing problems and the debacle puts a spotlight on the potential complexity of deals today and the importance of successful project management and delivery. This month, we asked business leaders across the channel the extent to which their contracts are becoming more challenging, the particular areas of complexity, and the measures/investments they have put in place to ensure glitch-free project delivery.



Several matters are impacting the complexity of contract and project management. Evolving regulations and strengthened compliance standards, combined with an accelerated market and an increased focus on personalised service, mean we have had to adapt and react quicker to satisfy these requirements. The key to success is regular communication. Maintaining close contact with customers makes sure that both parties are happy with the contract and the delivery, allowing us to satisfy the objectives of each project while ensuring minimal business interruption. We have invested in Agile project management training and delivery tools.



Government expenditure is put under scrutiny as they’re spending from the public purse, meaning contracts can be extremely challenging around value for money, management of scope and the treatment of risk and liability. Successful project management is critical to the delivery of the contract and solution. The benefits and desired outcomes of the project should drive the delivery of the solution and not the other way around. Strong targeted project assurance provides the confidence that issues can be spotted before they threaten delivery. Robust governance is crucial and even more important is the effective governance of all projects across the organisation to balance out overall investment and priorities.



The evolving telephony landscape and its technological advancements mean customers have access to more functionality than ever before, which brings both advantages and risks. The process of implementation must now be more considered than ever before, or your customer faces a very different reality to the expectations provided at the outset. You must ensure internal handover contains comprehensive notes. A customer-focused Solution Discovery session planning the final design before anything gets ordered even in the SME space is also key. By capturing, understanding, risk-mitigating and clearly outlining any potential disruptions upfront, it is possible to fulfil even the most complex orders.



Solution-based projects in the converged IT world contain many deliverables across multiple technologies. The key is to focus on the customer's business outcomes and objectives, and the real reasons behind their project investment. Projects must capture a robust and detailed scope of work, which outlines the deliverables and the success criteria. We have invested in systems to ensure that our project methodology drives project tasks, ensuring the right quality checks are in place, along with clear customer communication and guidance. Project change controls are essential for the smooth operation of solution-based projects, providing the flexibility to adapt the plan as needed. Using shared and standardised project documentation across teams promotes consistency. Elite leverages a PMO structure that connects our Project Managers with the Consultants and Engineers responsible for delivering customer outcomes.



Most large contracts involve intricate specifications, extensive deliverables and significant financial stakes. Adding to the complexity are numerous stakeholders, many without IT backgrounds. Ensuring everyone comprehends and aligns with the contract's terms and expectations is therefore crucial, yet often elusive. Project kick-offs often reveal gaps between user expectations and contract obligations, emphasising the importance of thorough consultations and site visits. The issue of cost versus quality is another obstacle as some negotiate contracts without fully grasping the trade-offs made to secure lower prices. We conduct thorough site assessments and advise where we feel specifications are misaligned. We invest in transparent project management systems and processes certified by BSI and Constructionline. We are also committed to ongoing staff training.



The rapid advancement of technology has ushered in an era of unparalleled customisation options and heightened customer expectations, necessitating meticulous attention to project scopes. These shifts, combined with ever-evolving industry regulations, demand our project management teams to be in a constant state of adaptation. We've invested in staff training and development and introduced an online helpdesk and enhanced our billing processes for customers. These initiatives bolster our operational efficiencies, streamline workflows and ensure smooth glitch-free project deliveries.



Public sector contracts remain consistently complex, without a notable increase in challenges. During the bidding phase, both the customer and contractor should establish absolute clarity regarding their respective roles, responsibilities and resource allocation for the work program. Effective project delivery hinges on a solid foundation laid during the bid phase, followed by the initial engagement with the customer. Ensuring all key stakeholders are actively engaged and have a comprehensive understanding of their roles throughout the project's lifecycle is paramount. The bedrock of successful execution lies in open, transparent communication. It is essential to identify and address issues promptly with a focus on developing mitigation strategies in a proactive manner.



IT requirements become more demanding year on year and contracts are becoming more complex. Companies constantly seek out new ways to minimise downtime and enhance efficiencies, while maintaining tight security in a landscape that changes daily. razorblue has invested in our staff’s upskilling and ongoing professional development to the tune of £100k in the last 12 months alone. Technology is crucial, but our people and our ability to communicate with clients are at the heart of our investments. We use adaptive delivery methodologies to suit the projects and our client base, and we front every project with a Project Manager, a Technical Architect and the most experienced Consultants. No two contracts are the same so a collaborative approach and flexible delivery methodology ensure the best results.



We've witnessed numerous technology deployments go astray, leaving organisations grappling with compromised systems that require months, sometimes even years, to rectify. Often, the root cause can be traced back to inadequate due diligence to ensure the technology aligns seamlessly with an organisation's specific needs. Coupled with poor project management these missteps can jeopardise even the most comprehensive contracts. It is not the contracts that have become intricate, but the technology itself. To pre-empt such situations, we emphasise thorough due diligence for every client, detailed site assessments and tailored solutions. We are also integrating and investing in AI which minimises human errors, redirecting our energy and resources towards fostering personalised relationships.



As contracts become more complex during deployment, partners need a firm understanding of increasing challenges and how to overcome them before the process starts. In the process of any sale, the prospect identifies business issues they wish to resolve with a new solution and if the value of resolving these issues is greater than the outlay, then the project typically moves forwards. These goals must form part of the project plan and a strong project methodology should be used to ensure they are delivered. Size is a big factor: It's natural that a larger customer will have more complex requirements, but the delivery is still about matching targets to goals to ensure business value is delivered. We include Kanban training, a project management methodology used by many MSPs to help ensure they deliver on all aspects of a project.