The art (and science) of the IT project pivot

Shifting business needs and faltering progress are just a few reasons why an IT project needs course-correction. Here’s how to recognize the signs and make difficult changes for the good.

Agility and resiliency are skills that have become big buzzwords these days, but so is the ability to pivot. Arguably, the biggest project pivot for all CIOs in the past few months was stopping what they were doing to move their organizations to full remote work virtually overnight, after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

That’s different from projects in motion that veer off course, which happens often. Recognizing when it’s time to change direction — and how to do it — though, is something of an art. These IT leaders have found themselves in positions where they had to pivot and have some advice to offer.

Be bold

It’s important to acknowledge when something isn’t working — or when it’s out and out failing — and take quick action to turn around.

For example, Mars Global had a project underway in 2017 to replace a legacy warehousing management system in its pet nutrition business unit in Russia. After testing approximately 70 percent of the functionalities of the new system, the team discovered several detrimental issues that made the go-live date of Q1 2018 not feasible, recalls Miao Song, global CIO of Mars Petcare.

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