Ep6. How to build a successful project team with Joyce & Oksana

Joyce and Oksana, Business Consultant and Practice Manager at Hart Square discuss why people are the key to delivering successful projects and explore how to build a successful project team. They also discuss the importance of considering the different organisational cultures which come together in a project team, to ensure you can achieve success.

Key considerations for a successful system implementation

Being prepared for a system implementation is key for overall project success. This stage will determine whether your project will stay on track and you will be able to realise the benefits of the new system. From the numerous implementations we have been a part of, here are the key considerations we have identified to achieve a successful systems implementation. 

Download the Key considerations for a successful system implementation infographic

Planning resources  

The balance of work across a project lifetime is significant. Projects require considerable resources – the highest risk to success is to underestimate this. 

Vital documents 

There are a variety of essential documents which are vital tools to ensure your project remains on track. These include communication reports as well as status reports.  

Data migration  

We see many CRM implementation projects taking longer than they should because the data isn’t ready. Clean, de-dupe, consolidate and rationalise your data before moving it to your new system. This takes time so get a head start on this process early.  

Communication with your technology partner  

Having clear and honest communication with your technology partner is vital to success. Ensure you each have clearly established roles and responsibilities and have agreed targets, including KPI’s. 

Testing the system 

The purpose of testing is to verify the system. It ensures the system meets the requirements that guided its design and development and performs its functions within an acceptable time. To help guide you through the testing phase, you should establish a clear test plan.  

Training your team 

Training is a key element in delivering successful implementations. It is important to deliver training which engages individuals and motivates them to embrace the change.  

Planning your go-live 

It’s important to consider and plan your go-live as there will inevitably be an increased workload during the change. You must plan resources accordingly and only go-live when key resources are available. 

If you would like to know more about how to achieve a successful systems implementation, join us for Module 5 of the Hart Square Training Programme, where we will provide you with the insight, tools and templates to achieve success.  

Ep5. What does digital transformation really mean for a non-profit? With Helen, Matt & Andrew

Helen, Matt and Andrew, Senior Business Change Consultants at Hart Square explore the term ‘digital transformation’ what it encompasses and whether it is just a buzzword trend or if it is something we all need to be thinking about to adapt and keep pace with the digital world.

7 top tips for Preparing for Go-Live

The go-live date is the one eagerly anticipated date everyone in the project works hard towards. However, there are many go-live activities that need careful planning and preparation to ensure it is a success.

Following the numerous go-live days we have supported, we have gathered our 7 top tips for preparing for go-live.

1. Share supporting resources:  

  • Ensure all project stakeholders have the resources to support go-live including any 3rd parties affected by the go-live date   
  • And get their time booked in and protected 

2. Plan clear roles and responsibilities:  

  • Have clear roles & responsibilities for your project team on the day of Go-Live 
  • And make sure these are published so everyone affected by the go-live knows who’s doing what 

3. Agree communication channels:  

  • Agree on suitable communications channels & frequencies to update each stakeholder group on the Go-Live day 
  • And allocate one person whose first priority is to respond to inbound communications 

4. Complete checklist:  

  • Ensure you have completed a pre go-live checklist of all key actions which is signed off before the go-live is committed to 
  • And equally, draw up a clear post go-live checklist for the Project team to sign off as agreement that the go-live is secure and robust 

5. Agree amendments 

  • Agree with the technology partners a timeline for any post go-live amendments to be completed from the testing phase 
  • And ensure everyone is clear on whether this is within the agreed budget or go-live or additional to it 

6. Plan final meeting and agree backup plans:  

  • Schedule in a final no/go meeting on the day of Go-Live with everyone present and an agreed set of decision criteria to assess 
  • And make sure you have backup plans to allow for every scenario from approving go-live to executing a rollback, with interim options for extending the go-live period, again based on clear milestones and criteria 

7. Agree post go-live support:  

  • Agree on a period of intense post go-live support with all technology partners  
  • And make sure all system users are expecting a period of disruption while the system beds in 

For guidance on delivering successful projects, choosing the right technology partner, or embarking on a digital transformation programme contact us to find out how we can help you. 

Ep 4. What can technology really enable for a non-profit? With Ian and Billy

In this episode, Ian and Billy, Business Change Consultants at Hart Square, dive into what technology can really enable for charities and membership organisations. They explore the benefits that new technology can provide both internally to the organisation but also externally to their members, supporters and donors.

6 steps to begin your digital transformation journey

Digital transformation is by no means an easy task. The term transformation itself is defined as a marked or complete change. Small changes can often be hard to implement so where do you begin when it comes to a transformation?  

Here at Hart Square, we have spent the last 11 years supporting over 200 memberships organisations, charities and trade associations achieve their digital ambitions. Over this time, we have gathered a wealth of experience and knowledge on digital transformation projects and have seen that for many organisations it can be difficult to know exactly where to startBased on our experience then, we wanted to share with you our 6 steps to begin your digital transformation journey.  

Step 1: Identify what digital transformation will mean to your organisation

It is important to note that digital transformation will look different for every organisation. This being the case, it is essential that you identify what a transformation could look like for you.  

Firstly, analyse and describe the challenges you are facing. What are the root causes of these problems?  

Alongside identifying challenges, it is important to have a vision for the future. What are the strategic aims of your organisation?  

Step 2: Analyse your current capabilities

Once you understand your core challenges and have a vision for what you want to become, it is important to examine your current ways of working and analyse what technologies are used across your organisation.  

Understanding where you are now, what you’re currently capable of, and where you’re significantly inhibited, will allow you to identify the gaps and opportunities which digital transformation can address for you 

This will prove valuable throughout the decision-making process, for example when prioritising between initiatives which are competing for funding or resources, and put you in the best position for project success.  

Step 3: Explore how digital can enable your change

Once you have identified your strategic aims and examined your current capabilities, you now are in the best position to explore how digital can enable your change.   

At a high level, this involves exploring the technology investment options that would help you achieve your strategic aims. This can include decommissioning and replacing current technologies but equally can involve enhancing your current technology through upgrades, integrations, additional features, and by training employees.  

Step 4: Get buy-in

To get your programme started and funded, it is crucial to get executive buy-in. Creating a successful business case will answer executives’ questions on the programme purpose, the benefits and resources required as well as timelines. The business case will support decision-making by providing clarity on options, costs and impact 

To achieve buy in, it is crucial to determine and communicate what is the best use of budgets and resources to create the most enabled versions of yourselves.  

Step 5: Create a roadmap

Creating a roadmap is an essential step to ensure your programme has a flow and remains on track. Through effective planning and mapping the key stages to achieve your digital ambitions, you can prioritise projects within a timeline to complete the programme. It also allows your teams to remain accountable and aligned to the overall programme vision. 

However, it is worth noting that a digital transformation programme can sometimes take years to complete. Therefore, the roadmap that you create at the beginninwill need review, and may need adjusting, some time into the programme, allowing you to take advantage of new opportunities and to mitigate risks.  

Step 6: Gather resources and expertise

Creating change on any scale is heavily dependent on the availability and skillset of your resources. Do not underestimate the importance of creating the right team to deliver your transformation programmeEnsuring your internal team have the right skills as well as capacity to deliver the projects, is essential to keep the programme moving forward and preventing burnout of your staff. 

Where your team are expected to deliver the programme alongside their existing roles, you need to invest in back-filling day jobs for core programme and project leads, and in supplementing key business teams. 

Alongside your internal team, bringing in external support can provide expertise and guidance on best practices and approaches, and well as valuable insight into how to navigate the tech landscape. This can help put your programme in the best position for success.   


Are you looking to get started on your digital transformation journey?

Get in touch to find out how we can help you achieve your digital ambitions 

The garden – a metaphor for your organisation’s strategy

I’ll start with an admission. I tire myself at times with house and car analogies. For some reason, in the context of technology change, they come in handy, if often painfully overused.

So in these times of Covid-19 restrictions and upholding our resilience in the face of much social concern, let’s step out into the garden for this one.

Indeed, my apologies, let’s get the “pulling up the weeds” and “sowing seeds” clichés out of the way quickly.

Some organisations’ strategies go to seed or become disastrously overgrown and intractable. They just do over time if neglected. Other organisations’ strategies are quite bald, scant on detail.

The metaphor of the garden for strategy is a helpful one.

Both gardens and strategies:

  • are all about growth, development, and survival over time
  • are by their nature cyclical and evolving
  • require foundation setting and a degree of groundwork
  • require planning and focus within several parts of one whole
  • must respond to sudden or creeping changes related to external or internal pressures.

The bigger the garden or strategy, the greater number of people required to keep the vision of the future or the blossoming present alive and in good condition.

Hart Square has always understood strategy within our work with clients.

It is fair to say we have been modest in the past concentrating on the allotment we share with our clients during projects.

After all, charities and non-profits have always had strategies, many doing fine in delivering the future.

The past two years have represented a period of change for Hart Square.

More and more, we are invited to engage at greater levels of detail at a strategic level with our clients. This is best exemplified through the growing number of programmes we help deliver.

In simple terms, our clients are more prepared to engage with us about a three-to-five-year transformation. They understand technology better and how it evolves over longer timeframes.

The discourse on technology strategy in the charity and non-profit space has become sophisticated.

A few further examples of our renewed work if you’ll permit me continuing with the metaphor:

We help more clients plan the future garden in full now – strategy development, setting and maintaining a vision for change, transformation planning and benefits realisation.

We work more and more on themes of cross germination now – how the erstwhile patches of people, processes, systems, and data are understood as a single interdependent ecosystem.

We work differently with our clients now on how they keep the garden tended after the flower show has come and gone – helping set up post launch stabilisation plans and future capability planning.

And a new wealth of exotic flowers and plant life have emerged, all needing new levels of understanding, with our guidance:

  • planning large scale transition from on-premise to cloud services
  • understanding how to embed AI in charity and non-profit surroundings
  • coping with an acceleration in the pace of digital change
  • harnessing the recent abundance of online collaborative ways of working.

So if the metaphor is familiar and you find your organisation seeking to grow and nurture a strategy in better ways and with a greater likelihood of long-term change and success, get in touch with us!

It is an exciting time to be a gardener / strategist!


For more insight into how to achieve project success which can drive your business transformation, join our free training programme “How to deliver successful projects”. Of particular interest among the 6 modules will be “How to deliver true organisational change” and “How to ensure your project delivers real benefit”.

Is a digital strategy a thing of the past?

At Hart Square, we have a lot of conversations around digital strategy and digital transformation with clients across the NFP sector. As organisations continue to rapidly evolve their thinking in this area, one question keeps coming up again and again; is having a digital strategy an organisational necessity or should digital simply be integrated into wider organisational strategies?

For years, charities and NFP organisations have been trying to increase their digital capacity with increasing focus on developing more web-based offerings and harnessing new technology to raise more funds, engage more deeply with their audiences and collect higher quality data. But when asked in the Charity Digital study, conducted by Zoe Amar in 2019, 67% said that they still want to use digital to increase their impact. This would suggest that digital is still not ingrained in the culture and strategies of these organisations.

This is also something that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been looking at, concluding that,

Transformation should be the focus not technology, technology enables an organisation to change and enhance strategies.

But how does this translate into practice? What would your organisation need to make lasting transformation happen? How do you focus on transformation without technology being your focus?

A critical factor here is that behind any change, there needs to be a focus on how this would integrate with your organisations’ overarching strategy and vision. When you know what you want to achieve and what benefit it will bring to the organisation, you can then start to look at what tools, resources and skills are needed to make it happen.

Equally key will be ensuring that there is enough digital leadership within the organisation. As with delivering on any strategy, everyone will need to buy into this transformation, understanding its impact and their part in making it happen. This will naturally need leadership at all levels of your organisation, something that not everyone feels they have.

To quote the 2019 Charity Digital study, 58% of respondents said their charities have fair to low skills in digital leadership.

With digital now permeating across everyday business as usual activity, it’s more important than ever to ask yourself how digital transformation can support the vision and aims of your organisation. Digital should be a key pillar of any organisational strategy, front of mind when looking at how to achieve your aims, whether that is in supporter engagement, delivering services or growing impact.

Digital and technology will continue to be omnipresent across the sector and leaders will need to adapt to ensure that they are able to leverage the full value of organisation-wide digital transformation.

Interested in leading digital thinking and best practice? Join us for chase.livestream from September 8th to 10th for more great insight. Register for free at

What does digital transformation mean in reality for non-profits

Lunchtime at TechsmartNFP 2019 saw a panel discussion around one of the sector catchphrases of 2019: digital transformation. The premise being, it may be all the rage but what does it mean in reality for non-profits.

It was a lively session, addressing important topics, and some key elements were captured below for a wider audience to benefit from.

To discuss this hot topic, we put together a panel comprising gigital technology experts

  • Gordon Glenister, Global Head of Influencer Marketing, Branded Content Marketing Association
  • Marc Goblot, Founder/Digital tech Consultant and Architect, Ina Ciel Digital Ltd
  • Panel Chair Sarah Hathaway, Chief Operating Officer, Institute of Student Employers

Evolution or revolution?

To kick off the debate, Marc and Gordon filled delegates in on their own work backgrounds and what they are doing now, with Marc spending many years in the creative industries as a lead technologist before joining Accenture and then founding Ina Ciel, a specialised digital experience technology consultancy. Gordon has been a business professional for more than 30 years, helping organisations understand that membership communities are a key part of their marketing strategies.

Marc says: “Digital transformation is embedding digital technology into everything you do and how you work, but it’s really about how it’s going to help you deliver more value, operate more efficiently and deliver what members/customers/constituents want and need from you.”

“An organisation’s strategy is extremely important but digital transformation means different things to different people. You have to really think about your audience and their personas – how are you going to communicate with them?,” says Gordon.

Question: What can technology enable?

Marc: Technology can automate, centralise and manage your data, derive value for you, enable you to scale your activities, connect everything you do together so data flows smoothly both internally and externally.

It allows you to deliver your messages and creates channels for you to do that, so that you can reach the people you want to reach. However, to get out to where they are, you have to be aware of the channels you need to use to achieve this.

Gordon: Technology should allow organisations to be completely member-focused. However, organisations don’t always have people and resources for a large CRM change. AI is important but focus on the CRM that you need, that is fit for purpose and imagine what that might look like or what you might look like over the next few years.

Question: What does transition look like?

Gordon: It’s a step change – gradually involve all your stakeholders and staff – don’t hit them with everything at once. Think about a new website but involve your constituents/customers – what do they want out of it? Remember, audience first.

Marc: Many organisations are working in their traditional silos. Think about what needs to be done – everyone should be aligned to the common goals of the organisation. Develop teams based around capabilities and an end to end journey – align yourself to that rather than functional silos.

Question: Many organisations are operating with very small teams – they don’t have dedicated technology people/data scientists – what are their options?

Marc: Build more collaboration – partner with someone who can provide the capabilities that you need – develop the links you need outside your organisation.

Gordon: Until you start to collaborate, you won’t know what is out there – it’s a question of finding the resources you require – think about what you need.

Take-away quotes:

Gordon: “Digital transformation is not just something that might be nice for you to have, it is essential.”

Marc: “I have seen how non-profits have developed since the 1990s and what I believe now is that it is very important for you to take the lessons learned in other sectors to help on your own digital transformation journey.”

Sarah: “Staff should feel that they have been part of the transformation and it’s not something that has just been done to them.”



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