Great implementations are led by great teams

Your practical guide to establishing an effective Project Team

 

Great implementations are led by great teams. But if you haven’t done it before, or it’s been a while, we know that putting together the right project team is easier said than done.

We’ve written this guide to help you put together the best possible project team. You can only do that once you understand the roles you need to fill, and the skills required. Plus of course, the expected level of commitment. 

Pick me, pick me!

While you may have an enthusiastic showing of hands (or not), you need a cool, clear head to choose the right resources for your project team.

Start early. Think about who you are going to select during the system evaluation stage. And don’t be afraid to ask your software vendor to help you establish the roles and responsibilities. After all, they do this every day.

The perfect resource checklist:

Each one of your team members should possess:

  1. Great soft skills
  2. A deep level of business knowledge of their unit’s processes
  3. Some technical ability (depending on their role)
  4. A positive and enthusiastic attitude about the system and the changes it will bring
  5. The ability to communicate and ‘gel’ with the vendor’s team

Top Tip: Effective collaboration starts with a clear goal, so everyone needs to be on board. People tend to support what they create, so involve your team from the outset of the project.

What are the typical roles and responsibilities of the project team?

The roles you need in your team will vary depending on the size and complexity of the
implementation, and some members may be able to double-up on their roles. For a six- to a nine-month-long project, we suggest these are the roles you need to fill (note: this is just an overview, for a detailed list of responsibilities download our Practical guide for establishing an effective Project Team).

The Project Manager

A project manager (PM) is a non-negotiable requirement. Your PM is responsible for ensuring all teams deliver to your agreed objectives. They should have managed similar projects before, be less technical and more functional or management, and have a good grasp of implementation methodologies and processes.

Minimum soft skills: Excellent people and time management skills, the ability to motivate, mentor and make decisions, a pragmatic approach, have negotiation and conflict resolution skills.

Project commitment level: 60% to 100%

Overview of responsibilities: Your PM is the day-to-day project leader. They find, schedule and resource tasks, handle issues and change requests, juggle budgets, and approve deliverables. Reporting to the Project Steering Committee, your PM is responsible for the functional quality of
the solution.

Business Unit Champions and Subject Matter Experts

Your business unit champions and subject matter experts (SMEs) represent the needs of their specific business units. They are people you trust to make decisions for their department and be accountable for the delivery outcomes. Ideally, they’re in a leadership position and have a deep understanding of the business unit’s processes, and where they fit in the overall business.

Minimum soft skills: Time management and team leadership skills, ability to turn around actions quickly, strong communication skills, collaborative, visionary and open to change.

Project commitment level: 40% to 60%

Overview of responsibilities: Using their in-depth knowledge to make critical decisions for their business area, they work directly with your vendor’s team to analyse and document detailed business requirements or user stories, participate in configuring the system, develop test scripts and ensure the quality of the software solution vs business requirements.

Technical Expert (for on-premises solutions only)

Your technical expert will usually already have a technical IT role in the business and in-depth technical knowledge of your IT infrastructure, and the supporting communication network. Their job is to make sure that whatever you’re implementing is supported by your infrastructure and security protocols, and that users can access what they need.

Minimum soft skills: Meeting deadlines, being thorough, collaborative, able to prioritise, and team orientated.

Project commitment level: 40% to 70%

Overview of responsibilities: They are the focal point and champion for the technical area, have considerable technical skills and technical knowledge, can size and configure infrastructure design, control the implementation of the hardware and network solutions, and establish and maintain security, backup and recovery procedures.

Data Migration Owner

Another technical role best allocated to someone with data migration experience. They need to collaborate with your Business Unit Champions to ensure the data migrated is relevant, high quality and current.

Minimum soft skills: Strong attention to detail, excellent time management, communication, and collaboration skills, and the ability to prioritise work effectively.

Project commitment level: 60% to 100% (dependent on the amount/quality of the data)

Overview of responsibilities: Co-ordinator extraordinaire for not only the data migration effort but the strategy and execution!

Test Co-ordinator and Testers

Every implementation needs validation to make sure the solution aligns with your business’s needs and expectations. The User Acceptance Testing (UAT) process ensures all issues are identified and resolved before going ‘live’ and is coordinated by a Test Co-ordinator or Lead Tester. Testers may be end-users, or Business Unit Champions performing a dual role.

Minimum soft skills: Highly organised team players with strong time management capabilities, not afraid of a deadline.

Project commitment level: 40% to 60%

Overview of responsibilities: The co-ordinator pulls together the testing effort, designs test cases, and evaluates and consolidates the results. Testers perform test cases, document the results and liaise with Business Unit Champions on issue resolutions.

Organisational Change Manager and Core Team

The OCM Manager and Core OCM Team investigate the impact of change on each role in the organisation, prioritise the most impacted and prepare an OCM Plan with activities aimed at improving user adoption. The OCM activities themselves are usually performed by existing project members or alternate resources on an ‘as needed’ basis.

Minimum soft skills: Pragmatic and highly organised, detail focused, excellent time management skills, strong leadership capabilities, ability to get things done quickly, great communication skills.

Project commitment level: 50% to 100% (depending on the magnitude of change)

Overview of responsibilities: The OCM develops the OCM plan, and coordinates the development of the project and end-user training materials and resources.

Trainers

Following vendor-led training, your trainers become your internal solution gurus and play a critical role in user adoption. The training role is ideally suited to someone who has performed a similar function before.

Minimum soft skills: Team players, patient and consultative, with strong time management and communication skills. Able to work within tight deadlines and prioritise work effectively.

Project commitment level: 40% to 60%

Overview of responsibilities: Attending the ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions, preparing procedural documentation, conducting and monitoring practice and testing sessions after training, developing end-user plans and documentation, delivering training.

 

Feeling stuck?

If it all seems a bit much, don’t despair. We pull together great project teams every day and can help you evaluate your resources, their skills, and experience, and make the right decision.

We know that every business differs in terms of internal capabilities and capacity. So we can also help you with data migration, training, and organisational change management from both a functional and technical perspective.

With over 900 customers, many of whom have undertaken multiple projects with us, you can trust us to provide you with the benefit of our vast experience and knowledge.