Successful public sector IT project delivery
Project delivery is a core part of the Whitespace offering. We thought it might be useful if we provide insight by sharing some thoughts on how we deliver waste management software solutions for our municipal clients throughout the UK.
Project Management is a multifaceted discipline and there are a number of approaches. Recent years have seen the software industry, Whitespace included, embrace Agile as a way of accelerating development cycles. However, for delivering waste management software projects, the team at Whitespace follow the Waterfall project management methodology.
This is felt to have more synergies with successful delivery to the public sector, because it is more deliberate in planning and execution and generally achieves better results against defined requirements.
There are 5 stages to Waterfall Project Management. The labels may vary slightly depending on the textbook, but they always fit into the same sequential flow of managing a project:
1. Launch – client engagement, questionnaires for information gathering and data collection
2. Discovery – project planning, requirements, specifications and system design
3. Implementation – coding and building the system
4. Testing – a methodical approach to fault finding and debugging
5. Delivery/deployment – operational system handover and training
Getting off to a good start
The stages are largely self-explanatory. However, it is really worth looking at stage 1 in a little more detail as it sets the tone, tempo and the overall spirit of the project. The information gathering and data collection carried out here is pivotal, because it usually determines how the rest of the project will develop.
Data collection is a major undertaking, especially where some data has to be captured from a paper system. This makes digital transformation an intrinsic part of the solution, something that often requires a degree of change management. Generally speaking, a project scheduled for 12 weeks may see as much as 4 weeks devoted to data collection.
Stage 1 requires a high level of collaboration between the client and Whitespace teams and there is an onus on the client’s team to provide what is required in a timely fashion.
The sequential nature of Waterfall means the rest of the project cannot proceed until the previous stages are successfully completed, so delays at stage 1 are likely to impact the undertaking of subsequent stages and final delivery.
Under the skin of project delivery
There is, however, far more to delivering a waste management software solution than simply defining the objective and overlaying the process with a project management methodology. We’ve already touched on change management in the context of digital transformation – the process of digitising and automating paper-based manual systems.
Despite the formality of the term, change management is also a very human process that requires the ability to engage and develop empathy. Some people in the client’s team – that may be IT personnel, those in waste management operations, or others in between, may be impacted by the introduction of a new system.
Resistance to change is the deeply seated human emotion that makes many feel uncomfortable with alterations to the routines they know. For some, it’s a matter of feeling threatened by new technology and different ways of doing things. For others though, it may be more politically motivated, should they hold the view that their control or authority is being undermined. Sometimes, it can be a mixture of both! Some clients, however, thrive on change and evolution.
Consequently, whatever the underlying motivations, there is a need to engage and communicate, to manage expectations and alleviate misgivings. The Whitespace team works side by side with client-side teams to help make operational rollout smooth and successfully manage change.
Get the benefit of an ongoing partnership with Whitespace
Whitespace is a waste management solutions partner. To us, every client project is the basis of a relationship where we engage to make sure the solution delivers value, while helping councils to do a better job of waste management.
The Whitespace team remains on hand to provide full support, ongoing account management and technical assistance and services throughout the lifecycle of each solution.
Have you got a new project idea, or want to discuss a tweak for your existing solution? Simply schedule an informal meeting at our office which is designed with engagement and collaboration in mind.
To find out more about our public sector solutions, please get in touch by calling us on +44 (0)1483 231 650 or emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org