Not For Profits – tips to implement successful projects

PMSuccess

Recently I asked what you would like to read and this topic received the most votes for my next blog.

I enjoy working with Not for Profits (NFP) and the passion in the sector cannot be matched by any other that I have been involved with in my working life. I have previously blogged about how NFP’s are seen as the poor cousins to other sectors, they fight hard for their funds, focus on spending any available operational funds in the right places all whilst keeping their eye on the main game of delivering on their core vision. Implementing projects with limited resources and expertise is a challenge. So how do they manage to implement successful projects? Here are my tips for implementing successful projects.

Project Direction

ProjectDirection

You’ve decided to implement a project. From this moment there is a need to manage the scope of the project to ensure you stay on track and deliver the project. Ensure the scope is defined and the success criteria is agreed at the commencement of the project and all internal stakeholders sign off before you engage with any external parties.

Avoid scope creep by utilising the scope and success criteria throughout the project to ensure any request that is outside of the scope stays outside of scope.

Project Team

ProjectTeam

Establish a project team at the beginning of the project. Typically most projects will impact several areas of an organisation and it is important to ensure every area helps drive the project. Establish a regular project meeting with a set agenda and deliverables. Appoint a chairperson who also documents minutes and track deliverables to ensure the project stays on track until go-live.

Steering Committee

SteeringCommittee

Once your project has got the greenlight and your scope has been defined one of the best ways to ensure things stay on track is to establish a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will ensure that any issues that cannot be resolved by the project team are addressed and the project stays on track for Go Live. The Steering Committee should be a mixture of the senior staff, project team and vendor representatives. Ensure recurring meetings are set throughout the project, minutes are captured and published and communicated to the wider team.

Collaboration

collaboration

Utilise a collaboration tool such as chatter with the project team and the wider organisation. This is more effective than email as everyone in the team can get involved in the discussion within the same forum. Any project collateral should be shared in the same medium which means everyone will always have the correct version of any documentation. The collaboration tool can also be rolled out to the wider organisation to help drive change management that occurs in each project.

Methodology

Methodology

What is the right methodology for implementing projects. Some will argue Waterfall and others Agile, Lean, PRINCE2 or some other methodology is the right approach for every project. I prefer a blend of all types into what I classify as Nimble. Nimble is a mashup of the appropriate PM approach but focusses on delivering the right solution at the right time.

It may be appropriate to utilise a Waterfall approach if you are converting from one system to a new system and a “Big Bang” approach is required. But you can still utilise a phased approach with delivering a Go Live phase as soon as you can in the project providing as much functionality as you need to allow the organisation to operate from the new system.

Once you are live you should move to a phased approach where new iterations are delivered on a regular basis throughout the project. Ensuring these iterations are supported with the appropriate training and communications will mean that the project will be a success throughout the life of the project.

Expertise

Expertise

It is important that you have the necessary expertise you can call on throughout the project and it is becoming more difficult for organisations to have the necessary expertise internally. If you don’t have the expertise internally it is important to identify this early and where needed supplement this with external resources.

Remember to “lean on” the Steering Committee to help address this as you need throughout the project.

I have found that with projects involving Salesforce, as a technology solution, you can utilise the power of the community. There are fantastic resources at Salesforce Communities and a specific community for Not For Profits called the Power of Us Hub. Ensure you check the communities out, become involved and also help “pay it forward” with others that can use your expertise.

Common Sense

Common Sense

Above all else ensure common sense is maintained throughout the project. We all know that projects never run to plan and decisions will need to be made during the project that can change the direction and/or delivery date of the project.

If you stay focussed on the success criteria throughout the project and weigh up the pros and cons of any change you will make the right decision ensuring the project will be a success.

Celebrate

Celebrate

Yes there should be a celebration when you go live but there are many points throughout any project that you should ensure are celebrated. It may be appropriate to set up a formal reward program if your project includes a large element of change management. Keep the team motivated throughout will help keep the project on target and a happy and productive project team.

Technology

Technology

The above tips have not focussed on any particular technology as the approach is not technology dependant. My only recommendation is that whatever technology you choose needs to continue to grow with your organisation and this should be achievable without large upgrades or re-implementations.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this blog interesting. Drop me a note and let me know what you thought.

Tell me what you would like to read about..

poll

I was about to create a new blog and I want to ensure my blog is topical, current and delivering something that interests you. So I thought I would throw this open to you to tell me what you would like to read about.

I will write the blog in the next few days so I would appreciate your feedback.

Don’t be shy – vote away and let me know what you think and thanks for taking the time to help drive the focus of the appiPete blog.

Overview of Dreamforce (Part Two) – Marketing Cloud

ETMarketingCloud

Continuing my overview of Dreamforce this blog will focus on the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud Keynote.

Scott Dorsey, the CEO of ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, launched the keynote. One of the first comments Scott made was to reiterate a comment from the previous day “Get to the future first and welcome your customers as they arrive”. This is an interesting way to look at things as I believe we are on the cusp of seeing some amazing things happen as Marketing transforms with tools such as ExactTarget and Salesforce.

For as long as I can remember the view has always been that data is king and this is true to some degree. The problem is that with all the data there was a lack of tools that allowed one view to understand the data and how it should be used. That was true until now…

Today our customers have so many tools and devices at their fingertips. The marketer’s challenge is to ensure their reach extends to these tools in a meaningful way. As Scott mentioned there are 5.0 Billion smartphones being utilised globally and we carry our smartdevice 16 hours a day. Our Smart devices are the dashboard to our lives – any marketing activities must utilise a Mobile first focus or risk missing a significant amount of potential customers.

In the main keynote Marc Benioff introduced the concept of “The Internet of Customers”. Part of this concept is utilising devices to deliver information to the user. We are seeing connected devices being utilised in our daily life. I’ve lost count of the number of friends with Fitbit bands and the gamification, across social networks and smart devices, that these programs use to encourage competition and deliver results to the users.

This is all good but how can Marketing evolve to take advantage of these type of tools. Does it need to change?  The reality is customers demand a personal experience and want and demand to feel special. They are clearly saying –

“Deliver me a personal experience in every single interaction. Know who I am when I walk into a shop, when I interact with you online, when I pass by your store.. Deliver content that makes sense to me and don’t give me content that I won’t be interested in”

How? You’ve got the data so the next step is utilising tools to analyse the data you have collected over time. You need to utilise tools to help build out campaigns that can use the data in meaningful interactions. Tools such as Pardot and ExactTarget.

Pardot is a strong B2B marketing tool that allows the marketing team to build out campaigns and track all online activity of customers (both potential and existing). Activity can be scored and progressive profiling utilised to maximise conversion rates. Pardot effectively delivers prospects to the sales team based on their activity, nurturing a customer to ensure the sales team effort is spent on those leads/customers that are have been “pre-qualified”. What I like about Pardot is that it is simple to use, setup, maintain and update flows which delivers the power of Pardot into the hands of the Marketing team.

For a B2C tool I don’t think you can go passed ExactTarget. This has now risen to the Number 1 tool in the space. Why? ExactTarget can use any conceivable data source which can be integrated into the ExactTarget Marketing cloud for all campaign activities. Ultimately the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud is not about email though as it also utilises Radian6 and BuddyMedia to complete the entire Marketing Cloud offering.

The Marketing Team start by building up a journey utilising a canvas that sits over their data and provides the ability to clearly buildout the campaign in real time. Specific content is developed and delivered to the consumer across many channels – such as Facebook, Twitter, Email and push messages etc. As soon as the customer interacts with the content the journey moves to the next stage.

A big win, in my view, is that the design and analytics dashboards are one and the same. This is a nice approach and simplifies the user experience.

The biggest avenue for marketing interactions is in the Social space. It is imperative, in the current world, that the Marketing team need real time analytics listening to real people talking about real products in real time. They must be able to collaborate with suppliers, customers and consumers via the same tools. ExactTarget Marketing Cloud utilise Radian6 to listen and BuddyMedia to publish in real time. The power is that these tools are all delivered in one solution – ExactTarget Marketing Cloud.

I will leave you with one last thought. Having the sexiest tools in place to drive your marketing activities is fantastic but the reality is content is still more important than anything else. You need content to ensure the right messages is delivered at the right time – you need the right tools to ensure the delivery can can be achieved effortlessly.

My main takeaway from this keynote is that you need the tools to allow you to build and deliver content across multiple platforms quickly and without engaging multiple teams. Speed to market increases effectiveness and increases the outcomes you can achieve. This can be achieved with the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud.

My next blog will be about the Platform Keynote from Dreamforce. If you’re interested please subscribe or leave a comment.