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There is a new trend going on that is netting disastrous results: using a “project manager” who isn’t up to the task of bringing a project to successful completion. Ending up with insufficient project management can happen for several reasons, but it’s usually driven by cost and/or control. Perhaps you don’t want to spend the money for a consultant or a direct hire. Or you want to retain control of the project, choosing to keep the decision-making capabilities in-house. Either of these – and a host of other rationalizations – usually results in putting a “project manager” in place who really isn’t up to the job—and the wrong project manager can be the single biggest risk for any project.
First, the “project manager” needs to manage and lead the project. Just taking notes, sending status reports, and updating the project plan is the work of a project administrator. Second, the “project manager” may not be formally trained and multi-project experienced – “been there, done that” once or twice doesn’t compare to a PMI-certified PM with a dozen projects under his or her belt. Third, the “project manager” may have skills but is not contextually knowledgeable: he or she is not intimately familiar with the core and ancillary technologies, and doesn’t have the network to get questions answered fast. And fourth, the “project manager” may be able to manage with the needed skills, experience and knowledge, but still lack the ability to lead a project team.
Falling into any or all of these traps is disastrous. Projects either don’t get off the ground or they drag on forever. Scope, schedule and cost creep uncontrollably. One “project manager” is swapped out for another and another while the users, sponsors, and executives all become disillusioned. Ultimately, the project fails.
But the right project manager – a real project manager – can overcome a huge number of project risks and obstacles – because that’s what they do for a living.
The first step to ensuring implementation success is to understand the difference between project administration and project management—and know that winging it with a project administrator will not bring you anywhere close to your goals. The difference is basically one of authority. Your project manager needs to lead the project – calling the shots, and with clarity. The person who is taking notes and providing status is a project administrator – they’re not managing anything.
The second step is to properly vet project management candidates.
6 Basics You Should Look for in a Project Manager
- Is the project manager trained and certified?
- How many times have they done a project of similar size, scope, and methodology?
- Do they know the technology?
- Does the project manager have a Program Management Office (PMO) tool kit?
- Can they work with both the IT and business sides of the house?
- Can they lead?
If your project manager has these foundational skills, you’re getting closer. He/she should be capable of keeping the project moving forward and overcoming the obstacles that are inherent to technology implementations. But what really matters for project success is specific experience with the technology at hand.
The Real Recipe for Success
- Does the project manager have at least 5 ERP implementations under his/her belt?
- If this is a cloud implementation, does he/she have experience implementing a cloud solution?
- Has he/she managed or participated in an implementation with the specific technologies you will be deploying?
- Does he/she have experience managing through the entire project lifecycle?
- Does he/she have a hands-on background with the technology, rather than just pm roles?
When it comes to technology implementations, learning as you go is a surefire way to blow your budget and miss milestones—and the money you may be trying to save using in-house resources or a rock star project manager who just hasn’t done this particular thing before will be spent many times over during the learning curve.
Avout has been called in on many occasions to get projects back on track when organizations hired project managers without experience and expertise in Oracle applications implementation. Why not steer your project in the right direction from the get-go? Call us today to discuss your Oracle implementation.