August 13, 2020
The world of work is more complex today than ever before. Most organizations are now dealing with geographically dispersed teams, working across timezones, in remote locations, and heavily relying on project management or collaboration tools for success. Whether this is your ‘normal’, or your ‘new normal’ brought about by pandemic restrictions, the requirement is the same: effective, successful team and technology collaboration to get the job done.
These challenges are tough enough when it comes to keeping business-as-usual activities on track, but the inherent complexities are even more obstructive when it comes to large IT initiatives.
So it should come as no surprise that, despite numerous project management tools and methodologies touted to improve outcomes, projects still fail. In fact, large projects are twice as likely to be late, over budget, and missing critical features than small projects, according to an industry report.
A survey published in HBR found that the average IT project overran its budget by 27%. Moreover, at least one in six IT projects turns into a “black swan” with a cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70%.
So, what’s causing these failures?
Today, projects have a lot of moving parts. For any one IT project there are thousands of tasks (human and machine), dozens of team members (many of which are on several projects at the same time), and numerous systems involved. Given this explosive growth in complexity, traditional project management tools just don’t cut it and are failing miserably at directing large IT initiatives. Why? Because they don’t adequately account for, optimise, or integrate the ‘human’ activities involved in a big change event with the technological ones. Clearly, how we handle complex initiatives demands a new approach.
The directive to “manage” projects and teams is obsolete. A new approach—“work orchestration”—is needed.
Consider these definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
In the context of IT initiatives, critical dependencies, resource constraints, and unexpected risks can quickly throw a project off course. Having the ability to orchestrate (arrange/combine/modify) activities to improve the outcome would be ideal. Right?
The idea of orchestration is not new. Many tools exist to orchestrate IT functions, providing automated configuration, management, and coordination of actions, systems, applications, and processes. But these tools fail to include human activities.
Work orchestration is the next frontier, encompassing both manual and automated tasks, and organizing both human and machine activities.
Technological innovation transforms organizations, but only when it’s backed by the great talent and vision of people. Technology is at its best when it augments and empowers people – automates manual, repetitive tasks to free up people to focus on activities that add value.
Unfortunately, many organizations still rely on project management software, spreadsheets, emails, and conference calls to orchestrate highly complex change events. This disjointed, archaic approach does little to alleviate team members of manual, time-consuming tasks.
A survey by expense management company Webexpenses found workers typically spend more than two hours a day doing admin, paperwork and attending meetings—time they felt could be put toward more important jobs. For project managers, the workload is even greater with time spent tracking progress, requesting and sending updates, scheduling calls, and compiling status reports.
Within this environment, seeing and understanding how various projects overlap and interact, as well as how resources are utilized—key elements of work orchestration—are non-existent. This lack of visibility is another crucial point of failure. How do you avoid mistakes, delays, or complications if you can’t even see them?
Humans and technology don’t have to be at odds. The best solutions enable superior visibility, communication, and coordination between the two components. Our Work Orchestration and Observability platform provides an unparalleled ability to coordinate work using automation and intelligent orchestration of humans and machines. Empowered by Cutover’s many cutting-edge features and capabilities, our customers are experiencing:
Interested in learning how Work Orchestration can set your team up for success? Contact us today for a no-obligation demonstration.