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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.