According to Wikipedia, the definition of Project Management is:
The discipline of planning, organizing, securing and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives.
The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while honoring the preconceived project constraints. Typical constraints are scope, time and budget.
The definition sounds official but the real question is why is project management important to a CRM implementation? The answer is because in many studies on IT projects, a small majority of projects (typically around 25%) are considered successful. In this case success if defined by the project being on-time, on budget and achievement of the project goals. Conversely, the same studies typically show 50% of projects go over in either budget, time or both. Those two statistics leave an exasperating 25% as failed projects.
A good project manager is like a general contractor, and knows the timelines and resources necessary to get a building done on time. It is important to understand how each step is built upon the previous step. The tile guy can't do the shower unless the shower has been framed and the carpet can't be laid until the walls are painted. Bottlenecks are also present for all projects. Hopefully, the project manager understands the timeline and knows when each resource must be scheduled and foresees bottlenecks and re-directs resources to avoid it. Without proper project management, it is like having all of the subcontrators show up on day one ready to do their piece.
So, why is project management important? Project management serves three main purposes. The most important purpose is to reduce the risk for both the customer as well as our company. All projects have a risk factor.
1. Goals and Objectives
It is amazing how many projects are started without having precise blueprints. Would you build a house without blueprints? Of course not! You need to know how many and what type of rooms there will be. Why would you build a CRM system without having all the necessary specifications?
The first step for any project is understanding the goals, the objectives and the issues. Many people do not understand that all three pieces of data need to be known. Goals are broad statements such as increasing sales. Objectives are concrete and measurable such as increasing sales by 10%. The last item is knowing what the issues are such as the following:
TAI uses tools for undstanding what the client is trying to achieve, for example:
2. Agree on the Project at Hand
At this poing, both parties have agreed to how many rooms will be in the house. The next question is how many of those rooms are built now versus later. Many implementations have phases and it is important to agree on what will be included for each phase. You might only need, or can afford, 5 rooms now knowing that in the future there will be a total of 10 rooms.
The second part of project management is having both parties agree on what is going to be done and by whom. If it is not crystal clear who is doing what, then the project is immediately at risk.
TAI uses several tools to make sure of that:
3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Just as in real estate, it's location, location, location, a project is all about communication, communication, communication. Projects are flowing things and as such, questions and changes arise as a house, or CRM project, are underway.
The final and third step, once both parties agree to what is going to be accomplished and by whom, is to communicate. For all implementations, communication is critical. Smaller projects may have a short window of communication whereas larger projects might have several months of communication. The best laid plans don't always happen perfectly. Projects are living, breathing things. Additions get introduced, someone goes on vacation, data isn't in the exact right format. It takes a person/organization with experience to keep things on track, with resources, time and budget.
TAI uses several tools for Communication: