5 Valuable lessons about Digital Transformation from the Berlin Airport Project

Expert Corner

9 Years after the initially planned opening in 2011 and with a budget overrun of no less than € 5 billion (on a € 2 billion budget), the new airport in German’s capital Berlin finally opened its doors recently. A quite remarkable project outcome in a country that was once famous for its punctuality and reliability.

Of course, only little imagination is needed to draw parallels with IT projects these days. Not just in Germany, but all over the world! Here are 5 important lessons that you can benefit from for your next ERP- of CRM project or digital transformation initiative. 

1.Make sure everyone is pursuing the same goals

Long before the project really starts, spend enough time properly defining the project goals. Secure the involvement and agreement of all stakeholders in this process. Despite the optimism at the start of most projects, there will always be negative surprises and unexpected changes. In those situations, it’s super important that the goals are crystal clear and everyone is really committed – not just with words.   

2.  Limit the project scope

With the availability of so many tempting new technologies, it is very attractive to start with a broad project scope. In practice often too broad, and unfortunately that is often where it goes wrong! The success mantra here is: ‘Orientate broadly – Implement narrowly’. Defining and executing a series of smaller projects often is much more effective than trying to change the whole world in one big step. 

3. Stick to the plan! 

The main cause of much misery in Berlin was the interim adjustment of the initial plans. We too often see this in IT projects. Acting that way introduces the risk of getting lost. It is much more effective to collect all good new ideas and use these to define the next (small!) phase of the project after the completion of the current phase. And so on. Of course, it’s getting more difficult to stick to the plan if you operate in a turbulent environment. So that is another reason to split your project in several smaller steps.  

4. Don’t change the management

Once the goal, the scope and the plan are clear it’s important to start working with the team that is in place. And ideally, you have taken your responsibility in finding and selecting the best team from the start. So don’t compromise on quality to make smart savings – as this happens too often! Changing the project management, like happened in Berlin all the time, brings in new ideas. On the goals. On the scope. And on the plan. With further delay as a result!  

5. Have one (1) individual end-responsible!    

Finally, the most interesting question: who is to blame for the project failure? At the Berlin airport that’s hard to say since there are three different organisations involved. And all of them had several directors and managers involved. But who is the one we can honor if the project is a success? And reprimand if it fails? Your chance of success increases enormously if you make one (1) person with the right power ultimately responsible. 

Contact the team here at Sci-Net and find out how Sci-Net can help you plan towards your long-term goals and digital transformation. 01869 717425 or email hello@sci-net.co.uk


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