- Use Cases
Implementing new technologies can be difficult at the best of times, but in enterprise organizations, there is an escalated level of risk, challenge, and ultimately, reward. We’ve compiled enterprise implementation tips from leading project and change management experts around the world to help you ensure that your projects run smoothly from discovery to postmortem.
It almost sounds like a cliché today, but trust is still an essential building block to the success of any project, be it a client-facing enterprise level technology implementation or an internal project. Research on project efficacy, outcomes, and teams has shown that trust is a key factor in determining if an initiative or implementation will be successful. Researchers in the project management field began focusing on trust since they found that it appeared across many relevant research subjects such as team effectiveness, cost reduction, resource usage and allocation (Hartman, F. T. 2000). Without a basis in trust, projects stall and many project teams find it more difficult to acquire the buy-in they need from key stakeholders.
Aside from building a foundation for teams to work better together, building client relationships based on trust fosters open and honest communication, which makes it easier to identify and address real client needs down the road. When project managers are trusted to fulfill their roles well, they are also more likely to be respected as a voice of authority and will have invaluable influence with stakeholders.
At the end of the day, implementations are more likely to be successful if there is trust between project teams, clients, and suppliers, and there are many different ways to build that trust. Build a legacy and a reputation of professionalism, honest and open communication, and accountability, and your relationships and projects will be set up for success from the start.
This is a lengthy and valuable subject that deserves more than two paragraphs. If you are interested in learning more, I suggest for starters reading Cathy Thuerbach’s 2014 research, wherein she lists many examples of building Trust in projects and organizations in general.
- Igor Sankin, Senior Project Manager at Jibestream
Things are never as clear as you think they are. Spend lots of time defining the vision, scope, and the design of change you’re trying to make. Think about the outcomes you’re trying to achieve, write them down and revisit them regularly. I’ve seen many teams mistakenly assume their project or strategic vision is clear to everyone and there is no need to repeat it. But people think things are clearer than they are. Those who don’t fully understand often don’t bother to ask for clarity for fear of looking incompetent or slowing things down. But of course, they’re likely not the only ones who are uncertain.
Clearly articulating a project or strategic vision is difficult because so much of business culture and communication is packed with jargon, buzz-words, and meaningless clutter. Change managers can help by challenging leaders and teams to communicate like “normal people”, and encouraging simplicity and clarity in all communication.
- Brad King, IT Change Manager at Chevron
Large enterprise implementations can be tough. Tough in terms of complexity, risk, visibility of senior stakeholders and most importantly for maintaining team morale as a result of these factors. One of the ways in which I help my team get through difficult situations and face these problems they may not think can be overcome, is to foster a culture of “We’ll figure this out, we always do”. I was taught this mantra by one of my own mentors, and have since adopted it when leading my own teams. With this perspective, the team is more open to testing out ideas, trying to come up with solutions, and working together to make it happen. It gives them hope that we will get past the difficult times, and when followed up with examples of past challenges we’ve overcome, it helps to motivate them towards success.
Every project is going to have a factor of difficulty, it’s how you choose to approach that challenge that will ultimately determine the outcome. As a leader, it is critical that you are motivating the team and this is just one of the tips I try to follow to make that happen.
- Alison McLeod, Senior Project Specialist - Technology at Deloitte
We need them to “buy-in.” I often hear this cliché on projects and it makes me wince because it hides the assumption that successful change is about selling an idea more than sustaining a change. If that’s the case, then why not get sales to manage the change? They’ll surely be better at it than the leadership or the project team.
Instead of thinking about getting buy-in, I often begin by thinking about how I can build commitment? The fastest way to do this is to expand the scope of participation and ownership - starting with management then expanding from there. Sometimes there is a reluctance to do this because it involves the project team, or sponsor giving up some measure of control. But what they give up in control they get in commitment. “Buy-in” is transactional. Commitment is transformational.
- Brad King, IT Change Manager at Chevron
Communication, change management and expectation management are all key players in the success (or not) of any technology implementation. However, I find the key influencing factor on whether an implementation will be successful or not is access to decision makers. Lack of access to the right resources at the right time can impact timelines, lead to rework or a solution that is not truly fit for purpose and; most importantly, affect the user experience (not to mention your own).
Access to decision makers is followed closely (if not equally) to access to the right resources – be it technical, legal, marketing etc. This is where rigorous upfront planning to outline the Who, What, Why and When really sets both parties up for success and highlights any risks early on.
My top tip for a smooth and successful technology implementation: Empower the decision makers to make the right decisions at the right time to deliver the right outcome.
- Jennifer Lord, Client Services Manager - APAC at PageUp
New project implementation can be a hassle-whether you are doing it for a startup or a Fortune 500 company. There are a lot of variables that need to be considered in order to have a flawless roll-out, such as business models, work methods, management styles and technological processes installed. Among many questions in implementing projects, one may wonder: what is the best way to identify each of those variables? How do they interact with each other? And what method is the most efficient to install new technology?
In my experience working with Mexico’s largest banking institution and second largest telecom company, I have found that to answer those questions and implement technological projects the right way, there needs to be a proper process improvement methodology. I would recommend a combination of the following three approaches:
Business Process Architecture (BPA)- This framework is very useful for gathering information and finding relevant business interactions by classifying processes on its owners, activities, KPIs, documents, controls, stakeholders, systems and internal policies.
Lean- Continuous process analysis and improvement by removing waste and focusing on value added activities.
Agile- An iterative approach where tasks are prioritized by a Product Owner and assigned to a development team who work on delivering incremental parts of a product and scope is defined and redefined throughout the project.
Following the principles of BPA, Lean and Agile on a tailored approach can reap many benefits and, in my experience, have proven successful in the implementation of both large- and small-scale technological projects.
- Ahmed Salim Ledezma, Manager of Operations at TV Azteca
Hartman, F. T. (2000). The role of TRUST in project management. Paper presented at PMI® Research Conference 2000: Project Management Research at the Turn of the Millennium, Paris, France. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Thuerbach, C. (2014). This IS your grandfather's project management: Building a trust-based team. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2014—North America, Phoenix, AZ. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute
Trish is the Digital Marketing Manager at Inpixon. When she’s not digging into all things digital, you’ll find her playing in the great outdoors, running her book club, crafting, or boarding a plane heading somewhere sunny.