Real Tips from the Field - Part 1
Quite some time ago, both radio and theaters used 'Serials' – a series of short stories that usually ended with a nail-biting cliffhanger. Its purpose was to encourage the audience to return the following week to discover the outcome, only to end that week's serial installment with yet another cliffhanger and so on.
Here at Trumpet, we noticed a similarity between those old-time serials and selecting and implementing our own new technology. Even implementation experts like us encounter a cliffhanger every week. Well, maybe not every week, but often enough that we'd like to share our serials with you. By sharing our story, we believe you might benefit from our implementation lessons. And, of course, fewer cliffhangers.
Here are some project plan tips from the field!
Project Plan Tips
- Don’t be afraid to review and change your project plan. Schedule a specific date to review and revise based on your own in-the-field observations.
- Make sure that key personnel have contributed to your plan, ie. decision-makers, technical staff and implementation staff. It’s better to receive recommendations up front than mid-stream in the process.
- Ensure these same staff members are included in the software selection their observations may prove to be valuable during the selection process.
- Schedule the software plan demos as closely together as possible to assist your team in comparing them while features are still fresh in their minds.
- Designate the ultimate 'tie-breaker' to make those tough 'either-or' decisions.
- Create realistic, attainable timelines otherwise, you may be setting your team up for missed deadlines from the start.
- Include SCRUM techniques in your plan to help you develop and manage your project.
- Scheduling regular meetings will provide your team a forum to discuss progress/challenges.
- Keep your focus by ensuring your plan is deliberate and intentional.
- Keep your training sessions short and interesting. While 8-hour training days can be efficient, they are not always productive.
- Don’t forget to include a transition plan to go from one technology to another.
Project Culture Tips
Just as there are certain cultures inherent to every organization, there are certain cultures inherent to every project. With a bit of planning, you can manage your project’s culture to maximize engagement. A good project manager can help you do this by keeping the team focused and on task.
Pro Tip: Depending on the complexity of the technology project, consider hiring an expert for this position.
Another key position is your user group. These staff members are often left out of the project plan but are the ones most affected by the implementation. To best maximize their engagement, make sure your change management techniques align staff with your vision instead of scaring them away or worse, disengaging them. According to Tia Geurts, Trumpet, Inc.’s Director of Operations and Client Service, “It’s really important to be transparent about failures or missed commitments. Aggressively leaning toward a shared vision is critical. Set it, define it and re-set it again if necessary.”
Take some time to review your project plan and implement some changes if necessary. Then, join us next time for another installment of Real Tips from the Field.