Prescription for a Healthy IT Project (Post 4 of 6)

Communicationn-bullhorn1If you have read my blog or my book Building a Winning Business, you probably already know that I’m a big believer in communication. Nowhere is this more critical than in the beginning of a new vendor engagement. New relationships, whether personal or professional, get off to the best start when the people involved communicate their expectations and listen to the expectations of others.

In the case of the new federal health insurance website, I wonder if the government agency clients were crystal clear about the launch deadline for the site. Conversely, did the vendor drill down to find out what “launch” meant to the client? Perhaps the vendor thought “soft launch” or “beta launch,” while the client meant “public launch to the entire country!” While we can’t discount the role of politics in the deadline pressure, both parties should have communicated expectations and realistic timelines from day one.

Among my other tips in this regard:

  • Define clear lines of responsibility to stop turf wars before they start. After clearly defining the role of the vendor, be sure to share this information with your staff.
  • Clearly state expectations to put everyone on the same page (see above!).
  • Choose a central point of contact for both the vendor and your company or agency.
  • Clearly state priorities when fleshing out functional requirements.
  • Communicate constantly.

Next time: how to keep your project moving forward.