As with all IT initiatives it is essential that a project of this type is perceived as being business rather than IT-led to ensure the success of the resulting system. Our Project Management approach is based on the principles of the Prince 2 methodology which we tailor according to the needs and complexity of the implementation and the culture of the firm. We always seek to establish a project board representing the major participants which is led by a Business Sponsor who is ultimately responsible for agreeing the objectives of the project and their achievement.
All major suppliers will bring to the table their deep knowledge of the system and their preferred approach to implementing the system. In our experience the approach put forward by the supplier will seek to address the installation of their system in a speedy way but may not necessarily fully take into consideration the needs, objectives, priorities and constraints of the firm. We always recommend that the firm spends time with the supplier to produce a joint project by means of a Project Initiation Document (PID) which clearly sets out an overall plan setting out the scope and structure and constraints of the Project. The PID should be part of the overall contract with the supplier.
Planning, Monitoring and Review
The standard activities associated with installing any new system or major upgrade – whether PMS, DMS, CRM etc – can be summarised as follows:
- installation – hardware and software
- analysis and design – defining the system parameters, tables etc
- development – configuring the system to the agreed design
- data conversion – mapping the existing data to the new system
- implementation and training – cross-over, conversion and user training.
As well as this, it is important to remember that any new system will be introduced to provide benefits to the firm which will inevitably involve change management issues. The overall plan must also address these issues and include activities such as Project Championing, Change Management, Communication, Working Practice and Policy reviews.
In all cases, project success is mainly attributable to the quality of business input and a plan that is communicated and understood clearly by all parties.
We are capable of providing a full Project Management service to our clients; however we are very flexible and can provide as much or as little assistance as required. For some projects we have taken a more advisory approach and acted in a Quality Assurance role to our clients.
We also have expertise in more detailed aspects of project activities for specific systems, such as PMS-related Business Process and Workflow design; DMS-related metadata and indexing; Knowledge Management taxonomies and CRM-related data integration etc.