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6 reasons why a dedicated project manager will help your project succeed

A dedicated project manager can be vital to the success of your digital project. Discover the 6 reasons why a dedicated project manager will help your project succeed.

Click here to download the 6 reasons why a dedicated project manager will help your project succeed infographic

  1. Organisational skills – a highly organised individual will ensure your project remains on track and will have a firm handle on how to get the best from your organisation 
  2. Keep focus – they will prioritise and manage conflicting priorities which can otherwise cause major issues for your project. 
  3. Organisational understanding – they can gather an excellent understanding of the current and future needs of your organisation and a working knowledge of all areas of the business 
  4. Communication – they will have great communication skills to be able to engage at all levels within your organisation and with external partners 
  5. Partner management – their ability to manage partners and their deliverables can ensure priorities and resources are correctly aligned with internal teams  
  6. Proven track record – this means they are experienced in your kind of project for your kind of organisation! 

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. 

12 reasons CRM projects succeed

There are studies, statistics, articles, reviews and infographics galore to tell us how many projects / IT projects / CRM projects fail every year.

They may not all have a shared definition of failure or agree on the actual numbers, but the accepted narrative is certainly that a large number of technology projects fail.

You’ve probably heard all this before, and, to be honest, these grim facts aren’t very inspiring or very helpful. So, let’s turn it on its head. Yes, many projects fail, but a whole heap of them succeed!

At Hart Square, we specialise in supporting non-profits adapt to the digital age, which will often involve the initiation of projects to implement new technology.

We want to share the knowledge and expertise gained through our involvement in numerous successful projects, to help others to succeed, so have put together our “12 Reasons CRM Projects Succeed” eBook.

Please complete the short form to receive a copy of the eBook.

For more insight into how to run successful projects, sign up for our free Training Programme on that very topic!

There’s no shame in outsourcing to specialists, especially where data (migration) is concerned!

In any climate, as a responsible organisation, there is no shame in outsourcing to specialists.

I mean data in this instance, and specifically your upcoming complex data migration project.

Let’s roll back a bit first, though.

A friend and data specialist I have worked with for some time now offered a version of the house analogy during a recent conversation:

“I am the person you contact if you need help moving home!”

It is almost that simple, and the analogy has depth.

No one can tell you in infinite detail what you have in your home, why you have it, what it means to you, how you use it, what you value most and what you’ve wanted to get rid of for ages that SOMEONE insists on keeping!

I make no suggestion you outsource all responsibility, accountability or decision-making power to a third party under any circumstances.

Yet in the standard stages of data migration – analyse (collate, categorise, prioritise, clean), extract, transform, load, test, and sign-off – there is plenty of valuable support on offer.

Indeed, Hart Square has specific support built into business case, preparation and implementation services on how best to budget and plan for your data migration. We are simply not the movers!

Back to the analogy…

You may have a very proactive family with the time and expertise to sort, tidy, bin, “charity shop” and label your possessions to be shipped to your new home.

We recognise this is not always the case. Recent projects with our clients have involved crucial scrutiny of internal resource capacity and capabilities to perform data migration tasks.

This is one of the major elements of your change project to get right from the outset.

And to strike further Hart Square balance and objectivity: of course your chosen technology partner may offer these specialist data migration services for the early stages of data migration.

Remember: you have given them the big job of building your new home, fitting it out, receiving your possessions, helping you decorate and fix snags.

You must make sure your chosen partner has the resource capacity and commitment to assist you in these early stages of the process.

Before I lay out simple examples of how a specific data specialist can help you if budgets allow, let me remind us all of three key advantages of outsourcing when done well:

  1. Focus – under scrutiny, a specialist will focus on delivery undistracted by business-as-usual.
  2. Efficiency – under scrutiny, a specialist must be efficient in delivering a contract.
  3. Cost control – under scrutiny, a specialist must control the cost of this delivery.

Some practical guidance then on how and where a data specialist can support you if contracted.

Stage 1 analyse

Someone internal has got access to all existing data for its analysis. A specialist will instruct you on exactly what to export for collation, in what format, saving time and helping you start with structure.

Certain specialists offer source data analysis with recommendations. This may help you confirm suspicions about missing data, data errors, data not frequently used. This is a major catalyst in your decision making on what to keep and what to leave behind.

Certain specialists will take your data to a fresh environment and cleanse it. This needs strict scrutiny yet when well commissioned, it returns efficient, clean, structured data for migration.

Stage 2 extract

As most data is now migrated to cloud based environments, a specialist will have relevant skillsets to help you extract data from source databases and “stage” this in preparation for its migration.

Stage 3 transform

This is a real focal point for specialists. Your data is inside fields in one format now, described in code. It needs to be transformed into a new format. A specialist knows how to order data and can help you describe it in technical terms for its transformation by your technology partner.

Stage 4 load

This is interesting as it is a primary task expected of your technology partner. However, in recent experience, the weight of heavy loading may be shared between third parties. Also, a specialist can “manage your end”, ensuring data loads safely and smoothly from its current to new environment.

Stage 5 test/Stage 6 sign-off

A caveat.

You must test your own data. It is yours and you know how it should work even within new systems.

You are also responsible for accepting the final data migration before you go live. What we find is that a specialist remains valuable here as a key reference on steps taken during migration.

So look, if your internal team takes a brief like the one above, look you square in the eye and states unshakingly, “we’ve got this!” you should listen. If doubt exists, consider a third party as an option.

There is no shame in that.

Time to plan for project success rather than just survive

Click here to download the Top tips to plan for project success infographic

When lockdown 1.0 hit the UK in March, non-profit organisations across the country scrambled to do whatever it took to survive, to minimise disruption to BAU. While some did already enable remote working, many had to order and commission new equipment, implement new solutions, and train staff who were trying to find ways to deliver their day jobs. 

Regardless of our preparedness no-one knew how long this would last, so whether they were in short-term firefighting mode or seeking long-term adaptation of their models. 

As the dust settled, we came together to share all our learning around home-working good practice, remote meeting etiquette and more, but as the outlook worsened talk turned to Zoom Gloom, cameras started to go off, and by July our good practices were on the backburner while our diaries were crammed with back-to-back scheduled meetings. 

As winter approaches, we may have now settled into working from home, but are we holding ourselves back as we look for a new normal? We’re not going back to our offices for many months yet, and we can’t further postpone the digital projects we need to undertake, so we need to stop fighting to survive, and start planning to succeed in this new world. 

For Project Managers and Project Leads, here are four top tips on how to succeed in this virtual context which isn’t going anywhere fast. 

Project Managers: 

  1. Book in travel time between meetings: a valuable opportunity to process the content of the meeting and to clear our heads. 
  2. Record all demos and training sessions: take advantage of a luxury that we didn’t have before. 
  3. Move to shorter, more frequent collaborationShort and sharp meetings are a good way to ensure everyone is on track and that priorities are set for the day. 
  4. Insist on “video on”: If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the value of live video. It holds us accountable and discourages us from multitasking. 

Project Leads: 

  1. The demands on you remain the same, even if your PM isn’t on your shoulderThe supplier is still doing the exact same build, so you will have the same role and responsibilities.   
  2. Be aware of team capacity and performanceIt’s possible that your project team appear to have everything under control but check in on how this is being achieved. 
  3. Lead by exampleRefer to the project plan and make sure that you block out appropriate time in your schedule for busy periods of the project such as discovery, reviewing a specification or UAT. 
  4. Have a strategy to prevent low moraleAs well as checking in on the operational status of the project, check in on how the team are feeling and don’t be afraid to flag this to the Project Manager. 

 

Click here to download the Top tips to plan for project success infographic

 

We’ve recently launched our free (for non-profits) training programme “How to deliver successful projects”  where we will equip you with the skills, knowledge, and Hart Square Project Methodology to ‘do it yourself’ – you will come away with the expertise to deliver your project to success – first time, every time. Find out more here.