or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy
As anyone who knows me will be aware, I have done a fair few Housing Management System implementation projects, of many types. Both sides of the fence mind too. At my old shop (MIS-AMS), around 17 types of implementations, many of the ‘big bang’ variety with large customers, such as Orbit, Spectrum (now Sovereign), Walsall HG & Accord etc. On the client side, clearly I help procure and often project manage or assist as critical friend, to ensure projects are a success. Up to now, I have not lost one yet.
Now most projects take 9 months to maybe a year and a half. Quite a long time in human comprehension, I think for change. It’s certainly a process that needs good comms input, to carry the project troops and wider staff forward.
All start with a clear project plan, agreed by all. Obvs.
So, I need to ask, why do most projects end up with so much effort, consistently telescoped into the last 4 months?
Well, a lot of this is defined in the first six months of any project in my humble opinion. That is the time when project staff tend to tell you, “There are plenty of days, no need to worry!”. I just wish I had £250 for each time I have heard that, I would have a tidy sum banked for my pension, and prospective pedalo business, on the British Virgin Islands.
Taking a proactive stance in those first few months, or failure to do so, can cause over-runs, extended go-live dates and possible increased costs. In my experience, keep to project timetable in those first few months and you will be set for the journey ahead.
Be careful where you have a primary supplier managing third-parties. Remember, they should be doing the chasing and your ‘project manager’ should be on top of ALL aspects of the project to be delivered. Now that might be quite a bit of an ask. However, if your primary supplier has contracted to deliver housing, EDRMS, Finance, integrations to scheduling, self-service and more, its only reasonable to expect that they provide one or more project manager resources to hit the spot.
Don’t fall into the trap of managing those third parties yourself, as you will realise quite soon, that you (not your primary supplier), might end up ‘owning the problem’. Perhaps that’s where the role of the ‘Critical Friend’ perhaps comes into its own. It does for me at any rate. That’s certainly a subject for a whole new blogpost, in the new year.
Few organisations recognise that the project is not a 200m sprint, it’s more a Mo Farah (one of our greatest, most successful distance runners, God bless his soul CBE) effort of endurance, like 5-10K. Anyone who has attempted a marathon, will know you need to go the distance, across the whole length of the race.
So, what I am saying my friends, is treat big transformation projects as feats of endurance. Be like the brilliant Mo. Peak at the end, yes. But keep everyone on course for the other 95% of the race, and you will be ‘bob on’, as my old dad would have said.
Related Post: Never good to have corporate data hacked - how safe is yours?
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Supergrass - Tales Of Endurance.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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