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Insist Upon Structured Project Management

IV. Insist Upon Structured Project Management

We find there are as many varied definitions of project management as there are CRM. Through our experience in CRM project turnarounds, we have also observed a clear pattern between a lack of project management and unsuccessful implementation projects. Much of the problem stems from confusion between project administration and project management; with the former being little more than administrative bookkeeping and the later consisting of proactive, results focused actions which drive predicted results.

Formal project management is normally embodied in a Project Management Office (PMO) and staffed with trained and certified project managers. Proactive project management should include, at a minimum, a project team with defined roles and responsibilities, a project charter, a well defined project schedule (with baseline, work breakdown structure, etc), an issue tracking database, a risk management method, a change management plan, a communication plan and regular status reporting.

The Project Manager must understand and plan the project from the standpoint of the forecasted results. The role of the CRM Project Manager varies greatly depending upon the objectives, constraints and timeframe of each implementation, however, responsibilities generally include:

  • Directing the project toward specific Customer Relationship Management goals (focused on obtaining business benefits, not focused on tasks)
  • Issue resolution; Interprets issues and recommends resolution
  • Monitors and communicates project performance
  • Facilitator of people and evaluator of processes
  • Providing QA and control over the project
  • Monitoring the status of the project in relation to the project plan
  • Communications to all stakeholders (executive management through user communities)

"A project is a one time job that has defined starting and ending dates, a clearly specified objective, or scope of work to be performed, a pre-defined budget, and usually a temporary organization that is dismantled once the project is completed."

CRM implementation is a project post- implementation CRM adoption and utilization is a continuous journey

Other project management tips:

  • Engage and educate senior management and operations as soon as possible.
  • Don't let technical problems dominate the project's time.
  • Articulate expectations before implementation. Anticipate the future, define success and work backwords.
  • Avoid political infighting between previously isolated divisions. Educate each business area on the pressures for change and the macro effects to the organization first, then their individual results.
  • Encourage users to change their job roles. Try to get management to develop incentive plans around a successful implementation and more productive post-role positions.
  • Don't change too much at once. Major change requires an evolutionary approach. Don't overwhelm the organization with a system that pushes more functionality than needed. Consider a phased roll-out and identify some short wins to generate momentum during the Customer Relationship Management project.
Customer Relationship Management
  1. Start with Business Strategy
  2. Assemble the Right Project Team
  3. Leverage an Implementation Methodology
  4. Insist Upon Structured Project Management
  5. Prepare For Change Management
  6. Plan Early For Dirty Data
  7. Consider Best Practices Utilization
  8. Don't Forget Risk Management