I have been in information technology industry for quite some time. I have first-hand information technology experience especially in government, utility, consulting, software and manufacturing industries. I wanted to contribute with my industry experience during ITM 700 and ITM 800 courses. Other team members did not have a similar background or experience thus had different points of view most of the time.
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I particularly had experience with Ministry of Environment, Government of Ontario, particularly with their RFS and RFP processes. I wanted to utilize my past experience with Ontario government in making a better RFI. I knew our professor had also Ontario government experience. I proposed what needs to be done to make our projects more successful based on my practical industry experience, in consideration of professor’s past experience with the industry, especially her experience with the government, what she would be looking for in a RFI.
Other team members responded positively at times, mostly did not agree with what I proposed. But regardless of differences of opinions, I complied with the majority and delivered reports. Most of the time, feedbacks from professor were in favour of what I proposed earlier. In most cases I received little or no feedback on my parts of the deliverables.
They understood what I had as industry experience was genuine and was really in line with what these courses are trying to achieve. I felt that my past experience in the industry contributed to my learning, and my education here at Ryerson was in line with what I learned in the industry, giving me confidence that I was receiving an education that would actually be put to good use and would at the end help achieve my future career goals. It was not only theoretical but also applicable to today’s and future business environments.
Other team members also realized that these courses were not far from real business life realities. Good thing about this experience was that it was not always what we felt like was true; it was what client wanted and what profitability and sustainable competitive advantage principles dictated.
Bad thing was we realized we had a lot more to learn and gain much more experience, we were just at the beginning of a long journey and the road ahead was full of challenges, was long and needed a constant concentration and energy to keep up with the pace and to keep at it.
I learned that technology, tools, their fit for purpose and their alignment with corporate strategy were very important for survivability of a company. This made it clear to me that we need to educate ourselves constantly about technology trends. We need to know how emerging new technologies can change how we do business. We need to be in a position to identify if they can be acquired by competitors. If they were acquired by competitors, what could this mean? What would be the future threat if competitors were to adapt these technologies much earlier? We also need to be able to understand if these new technologies are just a fashion statement and will disappear like never happened or existed, or will they form an important part of how we do business. When we look back, will we say “I can’t imagine how we made business without these technologies”. Take, for example, 20 years ago, how did companies communicate with their customers without internet, how did multinational and geographically dispersed corporations communicated internally, what was the speed at which they could arrive to a decision about a particular subject with collaboration of geographically dispersed team members? How did they reach to international costumers? What was the means of delivery of information regarding their products and services before internet did not exist?
Impact of technology on many different areas of businesses is becoming more evident with each day. How would companies have shortened design to market cycles without use of information technology as they do today? What could we have achieved with a certain amount of budget 20 years ago in comparison with what we can now with the same budget? Would the business benefit the same? Considering how far the computing capacity increased in the last 20 years, it is a challenge to imagine what future business environment and culture will look like. We need to be prepared and ready for such changes in the near future which most likely will happen in a not too long of a time span.
I learned how to approach a team environment that has many leaders, with difference of opinions. I gained experience in how to handle conflicts of priorities. It was a remarkable opportunity for me to increase my experience on how to tackle tight schedule timelines. I learned how to juggle what we need for our project versus what the client wants from the same project. It was a unique opportunity for all of us to learn how to handle challenges due to lack of interest on the client’s part in providing important financial information for our deliverables.
My strategy with our client was to extract reasonable amount of information, if at all possible, for our deliverables while keeping client’s interest in the project intact. I based my actions on satisfying client’s needs as well as providing enough information for our deliverables for our course. Striking a balance between what client wants and what we need for a successful report for our course was the key.
Experience that I had with well known consulting companies such as Deloitte & Touche, Cap Gemini and IBM helped me a lot in gathering requirements and preparing reports. My knowledge and experience regarding technology, enterprise resource planning systems, business application development and maintenance helped a lot during the course of both ITM 700 and ITM 800.
It is important to understand the needs of the client and articulating them. Keeping dependable records of communications with the client, getting clarity on the requirements, good understanding of their near and future business growth are important elements in a successful project.
I understood that to better manage and deliver projects in the future, it is important to understand client’s business, what is important for them, what the critical elements are in sustaining their competitive advantage and thus how our project can help improve them.
It is also important to have a better understanding of technology trends that are applicable to client’s business. Better articulation of tasks, deliverables, timelines, lead times and resources needed are also important.
Demonstrated and continued executive leadership is an important aspect in a similar project. This allows reasonably fast decision-making during the project, reducing risk of delays in delivery of the project. It makes it clear to the team members and other stakeholders that the organization is supporting the project and that they will receive the project deliverables and results they are expecting.
Adequate funding and resources dedicated to the project is also important. Without this, quality of the deliverables may suffer, project may be delayed, team may be more likely to cut corners on the project, or take more risks and thus jeopardize the quality of outcomes of the project.
Clear governance, roles and responsibilities is another important aspect of a successful project delivery. Without clear governance, roles and responsibilities, key milestones and delivery dates can be missed. Due to the project not being given the importance warranted by senior executives, resources may be moved from the project, critical decisions may be deferred or removed from agendas and the project may lose credibility as a result.
Another important success factor for a project is complete and clear requirements. This eliminates significant changes in scope throughout project’s lifecycle, likely resulting in the project being on-budget, and being on time.
A comprehensive, well-thought out plan helps to have a clear picture of what is going to be delivered and when. This will allow enough lead time to obtain vital resources needed towards the latter parts the project, for example testers, technical writers, trainers, and business users to validate and accept the deliverables.
Greater consideration for people and organizational change management increases chances of acceptance of the project deliverables by the client by making its business environment ready to accommodate and support these deliverables. It is important that the deliverables are embraced by business users otherwise the project may not be seen as a success even if everything is delivered as agreed.
Multi-stakeholder communications is also important on a project because without regular communications client may lose confidence in our ability to manage the project, may not have a clear picture of what is going to be delivered, and when, may not be aware of issues occurring on the project, whereas issues may have occurred with an impact on delivery dates, quality and scope of deliverables or may believe there are significant issues occurring on the project when there are none.
It is also important to have a better understanding of economy in Ontario and Canada as it relates to industry that our client is operating in. We need to better understanding legal implications and law in Ontario and Canada that affects business of our client.
With the help of all these critical success factors, we can end up with a better managed project, better client satisfaction, and bigger benefits realized. We also can decrease amount of time to gain back the investment made on the project. Better alignment of technology with company strategies that feeds and sustains competitive advantage of the client will also be an important outcome.
We can get more training to improve ourselves. We should increase amount of interaction with team environments and get more opportunities to practice good communication skills such as presentations, public talking and other means of improving verbal communication. This can also further be nurtured by performing more client facing tasks as much as possible.
Overall I was very pleased and satisfied with my experience with ITM 700 and ITM 800 at Ryerson. There was never a dull moment during the course of study in the last eight months. Ryerson provides its students unparalleled opportunities to equip themselves with relevant, current and industry aligned skills and experience in a changing and highly competitive global economy. As a Ryerson graduate I will feel much more confident and ready for challenges that future business life will bring.
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