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Five project challenges and how to overcome them

by five°degrees | 21 September, 2017

In all projects, day to day work can lead to clashes. Any challenge that occurs can be a potential recipe for disaster. In this blog, Max de Winter, who was the very first consultant at five°degrees, will give you a list of his 5 major project challenges he encountered during implementations. Don’t worry: this blog will not only tell you what challenges you may encounter. Max also shares what should be done in order to mitigate the risk and prevent a catastrophic end.

Five Degrees Solution Consultant Max de WinterChallenge 1: No clear detailed scope

When a client has signed a contract to set-up a new bank, the contract is mostly signed on the highest levels of each company. This means that the general design principles are known, but now it is time for the project team to take over and start executing the project. The devil is in the detail and when push comes to shove, each individual in the project team can have a different vision on what the detailed design should be like. This can often lead to lengthy discussions, based on a lack of vision on digital innovation, or unawareness of the technique that has been bought.

Mitigating action

Our experts have a clear vision on digital innovation and know Matrix extremely well. Together with the Subject Matter Experts from our clients we can make solid and logical decisions that fits the system architecture. In this process, mutual trust within the project team is essential. Once the whole project team is striving for the same common goal, the decisions in order to reach this goal will also be made easier.

Challenge 2: Tunnel vision on old way of working

When it comes to digital innovation of an existing party, the existing operating procedures are often used as a reference guide by our clients. However, these procedures are often based on a lot of manual actions and on a different (legacy) system. The pitfall in innovation projects is to rebuild existing procedures that are not as efficient as they could be within a new system.

Mitigating action

Working with a powerful new digital platform, you can learn clients to think outside their own boundaries, and within the boundaries of the new system. Interact with clients to learn why they are doing a certain action in a certain manner, then prove and show them this can be done differently as well.

Challenge 3: Migration of data

Existing banks don’t have the luxury to start from scratch. They need to take care of the existing business and at the same time try to get new business in. Migration of existing data from an existing system can be very challenging.

Mitigating action

Take your time to think about a good migration strategy and be prepared by scheduling multiple dry runs. Adapt your strategy and run it again until there are no elements of surprise when doing the actual migration so that all data challenges are covered.

Challenge 4: Change is inevitable

The decision for digital innovation was made by management and now the organization needs to change dramatically: new work procedures, new teams, new systems, KPIs, etc. Not everybody might like change and the risk is that you feel resistance during the project coming up from different people within the organization.

Mitigating action

Never underestimate the power of a decent change process. Make sure you set up a program that addresses all stakeholders within a project. Involve people sufficiently to recognize the different powers in the organization. This allows you to make a plan that addresses interests of all stakeholders. Clear communication and proper training are also key elements of such a program. A good change program will prevent you needing top-down approaches for implementing a change.

Challenge 5: Go-live date is under threat

When time is proceeding, certain tasks will take longer than initially expected. The sensitive triangle of time, scope, and money can be very hard to maintain and if any of these elements start shifting, the whole project is in danger.

Mitigating action

Make all deliverables as small and tangible as possible. Don’t create high level milestones, but create easy to achieve in between goals as well. Set goals per sprint and cut up your go live in multiple moments: Try to go live with a Minimum Viable Product for the easiest target group at first. By doing this, you grant yourself time to get used to the new system and the new way of working. In the meantime, you can work on the next product go live, or next target group go live, thus enriching your system in a responsible manner.

Conclusion : Be aware of project challenges in digital banking implementations to be successful

The trick of preventing potential project bombs to explode in your face is an early detection of the threat and eliminate it by taking the right mitigating action in time. Prepare and plan your project well ahead and try to minimize the elements of surprise along the way. Of course, there will always be unexpected situations during your project. But when these elements of surprise are kept to a minimum, you ensure yourself of a bigger chance on running a successful project!

Topics: Fintech

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