I'm always talking about having three elements in your project management software implementation: people, product and processes. In order for your implementation to be successful, you need all three. Within each element, there are many segments, variables. I'd like you to make sure you have thought of the following:
Product - Project Management Software
-Make sure that you are actually looking for project management software, and not task management software, or time tracking tools, or a help desk. Be clear on the business challenges you are trying to solve, then make sure you are looking at the right TYPE of solution.
-Make sure that the project management solution provider is mature and well-proven in use at other organizations with requirements similar to your organization. Many software companies are popping up and may not have the track record to serve you well.
-Make sure you select a flexible, customizable and USABLE project software solution. If the system is flexible it will serve your needs now and in the future. If it is integrate-able, then you can pass data from one application to another eliminating duplicate effort.
-Make sure there are no major GAPs with respect to your needs and requirements. Make sure the vendors do not try to steer you in a direction that is not a part of your goals. You would be surprised how many people get distracted by the ‘shiny object' or feature that looks sexy, but has no relevance to their needs.
-Make sure you have enough resources to actually implement the portfolio and project management software you select.
-Make sure you select a product built on an industry standard platform. Project management products built with graphic artist platform tools are often lacking when it comes to robust scheduling and resource management.
Process or Business Processes
-Make sure you understand your current business process and which parts of the process you will maintain and which ones you will ‘throw out the window.' Not all processes are efficient, but some are. Keep those in place.
-Make sure you start to document your processes, even if it is a simple bullet list. You have to start somewhere!
-Make sure the project solution you pick is flexible enough to support your proven business processes. Do not worry about the inefficient or broken processes!
People - Leadership!
-Make sure you understand that any software you change to involves CHANGE. Change is easy for some, more difficult for others. Be prepared for all responses.
-Make sure you have a communication plan in place to handle hiccups in your implementation. Nothing is perfect, so acknowledge that, but also plan for how you will handle issues as they arise.
-Make sure your leadership is on board. Nothing is more frustrating than investing in a new system and then not having the management help with the leadership and communication plan.
Thoughts? Feel free to post agreements, disagreements?
Cynthia K. West, Vice President, Project Insight
West is Vice President at Project Insight where she oversees the sales and marketing efforts for the project management company. West is a ‘serial entrepreneur‘ with over 15 years of experience in IT. She specializes in building the sales infrastructure for new companies or divisions.