But too often they do. IT projects are known for their higher failure rates. To combat this, professional organizations apply project management methodologies that impose a lot of structure on an IT rollout. But particularly in retail store tech projects, these methodologies can also add to the problem. Sometimes they’re too rigid, when flexibility is what’s needed. And too often, they front-load a project with expertise, but those experts are no longer around when new problems emerge.
That’s why Level 10 has introduced Program Management. It’s the special sauce that makes a well-crafted store tech project recipe that much more potent. Program Management strengthens our approach to any type of store IT project ― maintenance, professional services, staging and integration, field service projects, and so on, for better outcomes.
Program Management as the Special Sauce
Program Management allows more flexibility in projects while still enabling the sort of rigorous best practices that produce the best results. It does that by accessing a broad team of subject matter experts at key points in the process who can look at goals and issues from a holistic perspective. That’s an incredibly valuable resource that’s missing from many store IT projects.
Here’s what a project to install, say, new payment terminals, might look like without program management:
Sales team quotes project → Creates statement of work → Appoints project manager → Planned rollout begins → Issue occurs → Project manager creates a solution on the fly → Unintended, cascading impacts and varying results
Here’s what that same process looks like with Program Management:
Sales team quotes project → Creates statement of work → Project team is convened including project manager and subject matter experts in logistics, staging, Level 2 tech analysis, dispatch, help desk and team reporting → Planned rollout begins → Issue occurs → Project team reconvenes to formulate a plan that takes all impacts into account → Reduced risk and higher success rate
Here’s what’s different: The Subject Matter Experts each bring deep domain expertise to the project, and then collaborate with other experts so they can devise a well-thought-out plan. This:
- Lowers risk ― The SMEs can anticipate and prevent impacts that a single project manager does not have the specific expertise to recognize.
- Solves problems faster ― Experts address technical concerns quickly so the project can be revised and restarted with confidence.
- Supports rigor ― Every team includes a project reporting and analytics expert to document all activities and changes, so if something deviates from the plan it’s easy to get it back on track.
- Increases flexibility ― No two projects are the same. SMEs bring substantial experience with retail tech and operations to the table, so they can recognize, for example, that a grocery store will have different conditions, challenges and needs than an apparel store. They use that to tailor the project to the environment.
Program Management in Action
When Level 10 recently applied Program Management to a large retailer’s mobile device remediation project, we discovered 30% into the project that in addition to new motherboards, a subset of devices also had a battery issue. This had the potential to derail the brisk 100 units-a-day velocity of swapping out devices, since now there were two separate groups of devices to identify and shepherd through separate repair streams. But the SMEs on the project team met and quickly developed a blanket RMA and cross-docking program to get the project back on schedule. That saved the retailer in lost time, higher handling costs and lower productivity.
Technology projects are notoriously complex, so it’s easy for unexpected issues to emerge in even the best-planned, lab-tested implementation. By leveraging the right experts at the right time, Level 10’s Program Management approach minimizes the risk and drives stronger project results for busy retailers.
Contact us today to take a new approach to your technology project management.