Then we need an experienced project manager to take control and this is somebody with proper experience and project management discipline, not just somebody who happens to be cheap and available! Having a experienced project manager is one of the most important skill sets you can add to your project, because it is an incredibly testing and difficult time to run a complex replatforming project.
You need somebody who can apply the rigors needed to keep it on track. The project manager then sets up the project office, which is the centralised intelligence system and processes that define how the project will be delivered, how information will be captured, and how documentation will be managed and shared.
They should then produce a project initiation document. This is a reference point that defines the overall project goals, scope, maps out the stakeholder matrix, the roles and responsibilities, and also decision making paths. This is a reference point for anybody who needs to be inducted into the project, so they can understand exactly what’s happening and why, and what success looks like.
Then the project manager should work with the senior stakeholders to define what the collaboration tool kit is. This is a series of tools enabling people within the project to communicate effectively.
First and foremost, you need a documentation management system. Some companies will have their own enterprise level DMS. So for example, working with OneDrive or JIRA/Confluence, which can be brought in to the development phase for doing things like ticketing and handling user stories. Others might have a network drive somewhere where they want to put documents. Others might use tools like Basecamp.
In addition to document management, it’s about how you control communication so that you do not create a deluge in the inboxes by just having people send everything in email, which is massively inefficient and things get ignored or missed. So working with tools like Trello and Slack, to enable people to have rapid communication and also have a place where that communication can be stored and you can basically go back in order of what’s been said.
After agreeing to the collaboration tool kit, the project manager should start setting up a RAID. The RAID is a document that tracks risk, actions, issues, and decisions. This is really important because in the heat of battle, it’s very easy for a decision to get made in one meeting and not communicated effectively back to everybody in the project. By having a RAID managed by the project manager, that information gets captured, it gets time stamped, and the people who make the decisions get noted down.
What this means is in the future if someone queries something, says “What happened there? We didn’t make that decision”, then you can go back to the log and say “Well actually, on the 3rd of June, this person made the decision. It was signed off and the raid log is presented back to project steering every two weeks. Therefore we’ve had visibility.”
The project manager also needs to set up a project meeting lifecycle, as in how many meetings, what type of meeting, who gets involved in each, and making sure that those are set up and diarised so that it’s not a sudden scramble on a Monday morning to get people into a room to make important decisions. And then off the back of that, ensuring that all meetings have a clear process for documenting minutes and notes and that anything that comes out in terms of actions, decisions, issues gets put into the RAID log for consistency. So all of this stuff is really, really important. It provides a level of discipline and consistency in how the project gets delivered and how information gets shared. So hopefully that has been useful.
Thanks very much for listening.