Astute Planning, Flawless Execution,
Delighted Customers

Issue #171

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

People, Process and Technology - Ensuring User Adoption (Part 2)
by Craig Bailey

In our last newsletter, we began discussing approaches to ensure user adoption, with the focus on how this applies to the deployment of an Enterprise Project Management solution. This article is a continuation covering the topic of putting in place self-correcting processes.

Putting in place self-correcting processes

The nature of enterprise-wide solutions is that there are many roles and responsibilities, each of which relies upon another. With appropriate training, coaching and reporting, self-correcting processes can be established to ensure that the right “tension” is in place such that people hold one another accountable to performing their respective duties.

The primary theme is:

Ask not if the solution is working. Ask am I working the solution.”

In addition to reinforcing the importance of holding people accountable to their respective roles, it is also effective to identify a few metrics that can be monitored to determine gaps in each user group’s use of the solution.

Team Members - One of the fundamental practices of an Enterprise Project Management solution is that of having ALL resources entering actual time worked on a daily basis. This serves to improve the accuracy and timeliness of project status. And, this ensures that the true “level of effort” is captured, for what it takes to complete project activities. This information can then be used to improve the accuracy of estimates on future projects. To facilitate adherence to this process, an exception report was published to resource managers twice weekly.

Resource Managers – The primary benefit to this group, of an Enterprise Project Management solution, relates to the improved visibility into actual and prospective demand for their precious resources. Resource managers can now view information that tells them how booked (or not) their resources are vs. maintaining this information in an offline spreadsheet that may be disconnected with the actual level of work being performed. It is now the resource managers’ prerogative to track down any issues related to actual consumption of their resources including:

  • Resources who are over or under allocated as represented by the number of tasks / assignments and percent of allocation in any given period
  • Resources whose time is being usurped from higher-priority activities by viewing actual hours worked vs. planned hours and activities
  • Resources who are having trouble as demonstrated by reviewing estimated level of effort and/or planned finish vs. actual dates

Leveraging the information outlined above enables resource managers to proactively identify and address issues vs. learning of such issues via escalation.

Project Managers - A key activity requiring focused attention to get to the finish-line involves ensuring that ALL projects are published with “reasonable” plans, task level assignments and accurate resource allocations. To facilitate this process, a scoreboard was published multiple times per week sharing the status of each Project Manager’s progress on converting to Project Server and subsequently keeping their plans up-to-date.

The above approaches facilitate a bit of competition as well as peer pressure for key players to demonstrate buy-in on how projects will be managed going forward.

Executive Sponsors - In conjunction with the above, it becomes important for Executive Sponsors to constantly reinforce their commitment to the initiative and their expectations by taking steps such as the following:

  • Replying-all to status update emails, offering encouragement for progress and reinforcing the need to “keep going”
  • Making use of this solution a primary agenda item when meeting with their team members, seeking input / updates
  • Asking team members to demonstrate use by incorporating the "solution" into THEIR daily practices, including:
    • Project Managers
      • Asking to see project dashboards within Project Server
      • Requiring that reasonably elaborated plans, within Project Server, serve as supporting documentation to obtain approval for new or revised project budgets
    • Resource Managers - Asking them to show their projected resource utilization - in Project Server
    • When someone responds with "This isn't ready yet?” looking them straight in the eye and asking “why?”
  • Endorsing the establishment of a Project Management Office (PMO) which serves as an ongoing oversight role with authority and executive support to ensure adherence to the corporation’s PM practices and accuracy of information in the system

Finally, it remained important to reinforce “WIIFM” as often as possible. That is, remind people “what’s in it for me?” For more on this topic, refer to one of previous newsletter articles.

In our next article we will share the key tenets of a PMO role that is crucial to ensure adherence to consistent PM practices as well as fostering continuous improvement.

If you are embarking on the implementation of an Enterprise-wide solution (process improvements and new / enhanced systems) and would like to ensure it is done right the first time, or if you are struggling with an in-process initiative that has gone off-track, contact us. We’d be happy to serve as a sounding board and/or determine if there is an opportunity to assist you in succeeding on your most important corporate initiatives. To learn more about our project management capabilities, click here


+ People, Process and Technology - Ensuring Adoption (Part 2)



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