Often times due to the fast pace of our environments, we tend to focus on the tasks that need to be completed and managing that against the budget and schedule that has been developed. These elements are essential to project management and are not to be overlooked.
It is important to recognize that despite implementing new technology, its success is derived from a successful business change and ensure that the users adopt and embrace the new technology. By managing the value of the project, we are then able to address the needs of our stakeholders, which ultimately determines the success of the project.
A Project Manager’s Toolkit to Managing Value of the Project
1. Understanding the User’s Environment and Impact of the Project – There is often an assumption that what we are implementing will be a vast improvement, without discussing it with the end users. By understanding our clients environment, their challenges and how the project will impact their day to day operations; we can fully assess the value our project will provide end users. Being able to participate and provide insight will often increase the buy-in and acceptance of the project we are implementing.
2. Kick off Meetings for Users – We have kick off meetings for project stakeholders and sponsors, but we often neglect the end users. By engaging users at the initial planning stages of a project you achieve the following: excitement for the project, engagement from the users, initial feedback from users and users have a vested interest in the success of your project.
3. Communicating with the Users – Milestones, Success and Challenges – We start each project with full visibility and then not communicate our progress and milestones outside of the project group. By sharing milestones with end users they are aware of each stage of process and can often solicit feedback from the users to ensure whatever we are implementing will be an improvement in their day to day activities.
4. Testing – Typically we conduct user acceptance testing, but we often treat this practice very clinically. By adding a team building flair or a touch of gratitude the perception of the testing can be enhanced. By creating a team building environment, I refer to making the testing a celebration of the team and the milestone. Simple touches like providing food, discussion regarding the testing and making the testing fun will enhance the perceived value. By showing gratitude by providing a thank you and gift card to testers, demonstrates the recognition we have for the results the users are able to provide to the success of this initiative.
5. Training & Follow Up – By providing a framework for training, we ensure that the project is understood and that the transition is minimal to the new environment. They can see the final results and ask questions that may be specific to their roles.
The training piece allows the users to be set up for success. The training should be flexible, allowing for supplemental training if required. We also should allow for follow up from the clients to determine if any enhancements or reconfiguration is required in a secondary phase to the initial project.
Through managing positive project outcomes, we are able to develop an environment conducive to trust, collaboration and benefits realization.
Task management as it relates to schedule, cost and deliverables are still essential in assessing the success of the project. However, the focus on client satisfaction by ensuring that the project is embraced and the end users are satisfied with the final product is a vital component of project management.