Delivering projects in retail 

Whilst Covid has clearly had an impact on ways of working, the current climate and priorities, we have managed to continue to deliver our IT and business projects at pace and we would like to share some examples of the challenges we have overcome.

IT Project Implementation – key project and business resources no longer available

Uncertainty has led to projects stalling and then re-mobilising with traction issues as key stakeholders have been furloughed. We have addressed this through going back to core delivery basics and ensuring these are in place for projects – a sound business case, clarity of sponsorship and the project fundamentals of plan, communication and stakeholders.

Where once sign off was extended and check-ins periodic, the sign-offs for funding are limited to keep costs in check and check-ins are weekly and sometimes daily. Breaking projects down more and showing progress has become more important than ever.

We have kept the team focused and motivated, added in some fun elements to de-intensify and maintain stakeholders’ support to keep the project rolling!

Bringing back order – transitioning to the ‘new normal’ trading conditions

What we have seen during this pandemic is that consumer profiles are changing rapidly. Rapid shifts in behaviours have led to operational and project challenges with new key requirements, such as health and safety, contactless delivery options, non cash payment options etc. With the ‘new normal’ we can assume consumers will expect more from b2b retail as they do from b2c – tracking, fast delivery, return options and transparency.

What Nine Feet Tall have been doing with a global retailer in this area is work towards a range of options to re-mobilise projects and focus in on e-Commerce benefits. Not knowing the speed of pick up, return of high streets and furloughed workers the project focus has been on creating a range of options for delivery so re-mobilisation can be rapid. In these new times less ‘red tape’ exists so the way forward here has been more nimble and with a focus on do-able options that can move ahead quickly and with the flexibility needed.

CRM and Business Change Programme – away from crisis management

We have been working with one of the ‘survivor retailers’ and it’s been a challenge to communicate project information across busy lines of back-to-back leadership team meetings, bulging inboxes and short attention spans – often taken up with ‘crisis management’.

From a project management perspective this meant adapting – with clarity of communication being a key element. We have increased the structure: twice-daily short catchups. Also, not relying on email and assuming that project members would be busy on other tasks. In this content only short, regular, structured contact could provide a way of resolving issues and keeping everyone on task.

Our project manager shares what this meant for her ‘on the ground’ in this project:

“Given how precious the available time was I had to have the most important information readily to hand, which meant having sifted it from all the other information swirling around. Literally, going through, adding to and removing items from RAID logs, many times a day. To make sure I was up to speed and knew the highest priority items at a moment’s notice.

Sometimes this was hard to do such as when large volumes of inter-related issues came up. In these moments, untangling a complex set of issues was the issue. But being able to communicate this as a different type of problem was important. And still meant we could progress. “

Go live is now in sight, mid-pandemic, project survival and success!

For a conversation now about your retail projects please contact contact and we will set up a free consultation with a member of our team.

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