4 Motivators for Stuck Tech Projects
Technical people tend to focus on details. And when it comes to technology consulting there are a lot of details. For example, the minimum system requirements for a server, the firewall ports that are required for an application, the space included in a wireless network. Technical people juggle technical details to make a project happen. Because of all these details, because of the requirements there tends to be more of a focus on the limitations of technology rather than the solutions that come from it.
When we embark on a technical project. we should endeavor to focus on the solutions that the problem solves. This gives us a point of reference and a focus on what to do. It's easy to get bogged down into the details it's easy to get pulled into a place of “we can't do this because of this or because of this”, or to focus on outliers or pieces of the puzzle that don't fit neatly into the package. Getting that initial momentum to start things in progress can be the trickiest part. Here are a few solution-based approaches to difficult problems that can get the ball rolling:
Doing the easy stuff first
Difficult projects might seem insurmountable. It might seem like nothing can happen right, even just to get the project moving. However, you don’t always have to “Eat the Frog.” This saying comes from the idea that there is one big ugly thing you are avoiding by doing little piddly things and that you need to just “Eat the Frog” and do the hard thing first. Well sometimes in IT, that hard thing can’t be done until multiple other easy things are finished. For instance, if you’re migrating users over to a new system, and a lot of them are remote workers, maybe you start with the office employees first? That will give you a head start and then the remote workers will be the ones having to “catch up” to everyone else and get with the program.
Defining the First Step
The fuzziness of a project might not be a thing. Technical people are often very detailed in laying out a very tactical, very complete project plan. But above and beyond that, there will be a First Step. That just might be logging into the project management system, making a phone call, or sending an email. Often, the hump is just making the first move. Defining the First Step makes it easier to wrap your head around what needs to happen to get things started. Once you start, keep it going and knock it out.
Watching a tutorial/RTFM
Hesitance may come from an unclear plan. If you don’t know what’s supposed to happen, nor in what order, you may need a little more training. Most companies have great documentation and have even started to record tutorials in a lot of cases. If there aren’t any videos on Vimeo or YouTube on how to get started, check the company’s support site. The adage RTFM still holds: “Read the Freaking Manual!” Start with the table of contents or even the index and see where you need to go next.
Foreseeing the outcome
A purely technical project rarely exists. There is always a business reason to move on something. Whether it’s a cost savings, vulnerability avoidance or even just a slew of new productivity advantages, someone along the line proposed this and someone approved it. Why? Knowing what got this going might be enough motivation to get you moving on making it happen. It also might start a ticking clock in your own head on why it hasn’t been done yet. The best projects pay for themselves and maybe even pay you for doing it!