Change is rarely met with open arms and wild applause. As a project manager, I’ve run into resistance in some shape or form in probably every project I’ve run.
So not only do I need to ensure that everything in the initiative is successfully completed on time, on budget and in scope – but I also get to do a lot of education, sales, and marketing to ensure buy-in from everyone involved.
Most of the projects I run are in the IT solutions camp – and usually include some level process change as well. But I think most project managers will find my experience familiar.
You can typically keep management and executive sponsors happy with the classic metrics: time saved, money saved, labor saved.
But the team who will be using your resulting system will need some other benefits and values in place when you’re done. And, in my opinion, these are as important (if not more important) as the classic measurements.
That’s because these “other benefits” can actually make or break the longevity of your project solution.
The Other Benefits
The other benefits of a solution can be harder to measure. And to ensure that they’re in place, it will take time, patience, and education of your user community to generate them.
But once you have them – you have success – and a system that will be around for a long time.
The Other Benefits that I work to have in place by the conclusion of any project come from a positive answer to these three questions:
Is it Useful? Does the system or solution do what it needs to do? You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) at how many systems are launched that, over the course of the project, have gotten away from the problem it was originally supposed to solve.
Is it Easy? Is the system going to be a challenge or a chore to use? If they don’t like it, your user base will very quickly find workarounds. We have a saying around here: “if it’s easy, it gets done.” And more importantly, if it’s easy, it gets done the way you (and your system) intended. A system can’t produce results if it isn’t used properly.
Do you Trust It? If the users don’t trust that the solution is producing results that they can trust, you’ll have another workaround brewing.
If your solution doesn’t generate these benefits, it likely won’t last. And where’s the value in that?
To make sure you have these Other Benefits when you’re done, you need to do the work upfront. You and your project team need to make sure the scope of whatever you’re trying to produce will get you there. Here’s where the education, sales, and marketing I mentioned earlier come into play.
In future posts, I’ll share more about how we go about ensuring we have these Other Benefits in place.
I’d love to hear about what other factors you look for to ensure a successful solution. Please throw your thoughts in the comments.