How to Effectively Manage an LOS Project
From communication to organization to vendor management – these are the make-or-break focus areas for those planning an LOS project.
To effectively manage an LOS implementation, the project manager must have a clear understanding of the issues their organization is trying to solve by implementing the new system. This becomes the project manager’s baseline as they manage the entire implementation.
How does the project manager and their team gain that understanding? What can they do to ensure that the implementation goes smoothly and that the organization’s goals are met? Here are three of the most important focus areas that factor into successfully managing an LOS implementation.
According to the Project Management Book of Knowledge, project managers spend majority of their time communicating with team members and other project stakeholders. It is this process of planning, collecting, and distributing project information throughout the team that is critical to the success of any project.
It’s important to identify all team members and stakeholders and develop the appropriate form and consistency of ongoing communication based on your stakeholder needs and requirements. Constant dialogue is required to ensure expectations are clearly expressed by your organization and understood by each vendor. Document decisions and approvals that are made during the project to ensure the integrity of those decisions as well as provide an audit trail of why those decisions or approvals were made.
Communication of status updates throughout your project is also a necessity for the success of the project. A study done by the Project Management Institute found that on average, two out of five projects do not meet their original goals and business intent and one-half of those were related to ineffective communications.
Often times we see projects fail due to lack of transparency when project managers hesitate in raising issues in a timely fashion for either fear of delivering bad news or trying to manage without the proper input. It is imperative that all issues or threats to your project get communicated immediately to allow for collaboration on resolution and mitigation of such risk.
Project manager will also act as the liaison and point of contact between the organization, vendors and any third party consultants that work on the project to help resolve issues or engage members of the organization when critical decisions need to be made such as changes to budget or project scope.
Resource management is the process of organizing, managing, and leading the project team. It includes knowing your team members skillsets and their expected roles within the project (along with resolving issues that my hinder their performance). In a May 2016 article by CIM.com titled “why IT projects fail,” it was concluded that many projects failed due to lack of resource allocation and aligning resources with business goals.
A few of the resources required on an LOS implementation: the subject matter experts from each role within the organization to provide functional requirements for their group, resources for system testing as deliverables are rolled out, and a System Administrator for data entry and system configuration. It is also good practice to involve your technology team and other post-go-live support early on in the project so they will have a good understanding of why certain things were implemented the way they were.
Managing resources will require that you maintain a resource calendar that identifies an available working schedule to plan around vacation or holidays and to avoid delays in the project due to resource availability. Your resource calendar should also identify the length of time resources will be available to support the organization’s LOS project.
Vendor management includes monitoring your vendor’s strategy and timeline to ensure your project is delivered on time with the quality features your organization expects. It is the process of tracking performance and providing feedback to stakeholders as needed.
In order to manage vendor expectations, it is imperative that you restate and understand the requirements and standard each vendor is expected to meet.
Vendors will sometimes mainly focus on implementing as fast as possible in order to deliver ahead of schedule. It is your responsibility to make sure all requirements are properly verified and tested prior to sign off.
If you need more resources related to LOS implementation, please check out some additional thought leadership from our Saxony Financial Services team.