We’ve just gone past the point where we can’t talk about it still being the start of the New Year. It is, however, the time of year when we suddenly realise that despite our best intentions, none of our post-New Year projects have kicked off.
For a lot of businesses, April is the beginning of the last quarter before the end of the Financial Year; making it a tricky time to get new projects underway. It’s hard to justify the time and financial cost of a new project when everyone is focused on business results and making budgets. However, it’s a great time to complete a smaller project and achieve some quick-win business benefits.
Depending on the nature of the project, it’s still possible to aim for the “clean” cutover date of 1st July. It’s the beginning of the new Financial Year for some, as well as being the mental half-way marker for the year. Unless you’re aiming to do a major ERP implementation, or a large process / software / business dependent project, there’s a good chance you could still make a 1 July Go Live for your project and still allow for testing and training time. You can get a lot done in three, well-planned months.
Alternatively, you might be planning a project go live for the second half of the year. If so, keep in mind that if the middle of the year is your End of Financial Year, then you might have some internal restrictions around July and August, preventing any significant change until Year End is complete. If you wait to start your project in September, it doesn’t leave you much time to deliver your project before the Christmas holiday season kicks in. However, if you start your project now, you can plan your project momentum, so that the middle of the year is only a slight speed bump rather than a complete road block. And, of course, you get plenty of time to safely deliver a September or October cutover.
Sometimes lack of funds are the main reason that a key business project isn’t allowed to go ahead. However, leftover funds can be the reason it is. Many companies use historical cost tracking to determine whether certain parts of the business actually need the funds allocated to them in the next budget. If the money doesn’t get used, then it might get pulled out of that part of the business and reallocated to someone “needier”. In other words, if you don’t use it your allocated budget, you lose it.
If you’ve been struggling to get funding for an IT project, maybe this is the right opportunity to reallocate other leftover funds. An IT Project kicked off now stands a good chance of being delivered in the third quarter of the calendar year, potentially delivering much needed improvements to your business before the end of the year.
Of course, if you’re all out of funds, there’s always the next round of budgeting to consider.
We often give up on tackling business change as the year rolls along because we get bogged down in the day-to-day and occasional fire-fighting. It’s easy to lose perspective and just focus on what you need to do in order to get through each day or week.
However, it’s still early enough in the year to capitalise on the tail end of “New Year Excitement”. Humans are hard-wired to get excited about the change to a New Year and the possibilities it brings. It can be a potent time within a company, often driving a lot of innovation and change. There are potentially others in your business who have been planning change but are frustrated that they haven’t been able to make the changes they planned. Seek them out and work together, initiating positive change for the business and long-term improvement.
Do you need help implementing business change? Contact Business System Alchemy for more information by clicking here.
The Alchemist is Ruxana D’Vine and Michael Meryment, specialists in matching business needs to technology.