Before you start – always define what software project success looks like!

Software projects typically evoke many emotions. And that is logical. After all, many people are involved in these projects, the investments are substantial, the interests are great and choices, once made, cannot be easily changed. In addition to that, you have the task to communicate very accurate on your project goals. To your staff of course, but also to your potential vendors. How else can they understand where you want to go with your project?

Unfortunately, most organizations on the planet do not really excel at properly defining what they want to achieve. It is widely believed that over 90% of all organizations involved in ERP and CRM software projects consider ‘staying within time and budget’ as their ultimate project goal. Most likely, you yourself have used that as a project goal in the past as well.

Now let’s dive a bit deeper in this popular definition of the project goal. Spending money just for the sake of spending money isn’t really a goal, is it? And what does is tell us when we conclude at the end of the project that we were able to stay in that budget? Does that make your project successful? Does that mean that you’ve modernized your business processes? And that you’re a more attractive business partner for your potential customers? Another question: how motivational is it for your organization to stay within budget as only a few team members know what that budget really is?

The availability of time and financial resources in projects should be considered more like conditions for success than as final goals on itself.

Probably the best you can do for your next software project is to connect the project with your overall business strategy. Regardless whether it is a completely new project or an upgrade. Business strategies typically talk about company growth, profitability, customer centricity and being compliant. Connecting your project with these strategic goals has a number of advantages. First and foremost it assures that it’s not an isolated, stand-alone project. Since all the team understands the overall strategy, you will obtain internal support much easier – including the crucial support of your board! And unlike these ‘time and budget’ projects, your new project won’t stop at the Go Live date. But it will remain business relevant as long as the company strategy is relevant. And finally, it makes clear that this is not a pure IT project where the sole responsibility lies within the IT department.

By correctly defining what success in your next ERP or CRM project looks like, you are taking an important first step towards achieving that success!

Find out more on how to define project success here