5 Ways to Ensure Success
“We are way over budget!” yelled the CFO upon looking at the costs incurred to date in just getting the new financial system ready for implementation.
“Where did all the time go and why are we still in the planning stage?” His face was red and his temper was hot.
And rightfully so – the project scope and budget said $250,000 and the run-rate was already at $350,000. Moreover, the project was supposed to “Go-Live” in two months and there was no way that the company could do so. The data had not been mapped, the new chart of accounts had not been approved, the integration of the sales order system had not been tested, and the dashboards had not been thought through. In fact, over half of the project plan had yet to be done.
This was a disaster. Time was running out and there was no more money for this project!
Incredibly, this is a frequent story. But it doesn’t have to be yours. Let’s get the project rocking from the very start!
So how do you ensure that your project will be a success?
Here are 5 Ways:
1. Company-Wide Initiative – There is a degree of excitement when the company announces a new initiative. Bring everyone together and show them how it is going to improve the company and make their lives better. Get the energy flowing. Make sure that top management is on-board.
2. Project Leaders – It’s good to have one person in the company who everyone can identify as the hero who will pull the operational issues into the system and get the project completed. It often helps to create Project Teams by topic area such as chart of account, SKU numbering, order management, customer relations. These Project Teams become responsible for headline project areas and they can rewrite the business rules to improve operations in light of new systems.
3. Go-Live Date – At the announcement of the new initiative, also declare a “Go-Live” date. Hedge a bit and pick a date a few months longer than you originally conceived. Work to the original date but give yourself some wiggle room for unexpected events so that you can celebrate a success with ease. Use the date to set intermediate goals to keep the Project Teams on-task.
4. Dashboards – Help the Team to visualize the future and circulate images of the mocked-up dashboards that each department will be enjoying. Solicit reactions and ideas. You might even create a competition for best suggestions that are used in the next versions of the dashboards.
5. Successes Every Month – Everyone likes a bit of acknowledgement for their contribution to moving the project forward so make a point of identifying Project Team members who did something special in the past month. Add some fun and have a monthly lunch run by the Project Team leaders and talk about the project.
Seems logical and easy. Yet this is the hardest part of the project.
It’s all about the people and comfort zones.
It’s often the case that what we know well, we do well.
Yet, when we are uncertain, we may hesitate, procrastinate, or let others take the lead.
So to work around resistance, especially when embarking on a system change that affects every aspect of the company’s operations, it’s worth the effort to acknowledge the Team members and make them stakeholders in the steps ahead.
Therefore, a good Project Leader goes the extra mile to create familiarity with the vision of the future. The process helps the Team to make great recommendations and be part of their own future.
The result is magical. The staff are not waiting for the project to become implemented nor are they relegating the heavy lifting to a few enthusiastic people. Instead, the staff get more involved in taking care of the small details and suggesting better ways to get things done.
Within the Project Teams, new ideas have a formal place to be heard. The Project Manager is orchestrating a new framework for the company.
There are specific targets that get hit. Instead of the CFO exclaiming in frustration about the budget and the time running out, there are acknowledgements and celebrations of project milestones being achieved.
The initiative becomes on-time and on-budget. Most importantly, the project gets done, to the benefit of the company and the delight of the staff.
You can do this!
Rubenstein / Justman Management Consultants (RJMC) is expert in Project Management for important financial and operational systems selection and implementation. Give us a call today at 310-445-5300 - we know how to Get Projects Done!