Managing IT projects, whether it’s a new implementation or a system upgrade can be a lengthy and turbulent process, and seldom does everything go exactly as planned. Out of fear of long, expensive, and poorly managed projects, many companies hinder innovation and progress by enduring outdated systems and processes well past their prime. But, this doesn’t have to be the case; with the right preparations and the agility to respond quickly to any pitfalls, organisations can ensure new projects are successful right from the start.
At Generis, we pride ourselves on our ability to deliver on projects quickly, smoothly, and within budget. We asked our Project Managers a few questions to shed light on the process of overseeing a project, and how they ensure projects are successful for both the Generis team, and the customer.
What does a successful project look like to you as a Project Manager?
To our Project Managers, a successful project is one that results in a happy customer, having received a product that exceeds expectations, is delivered on time and within budget. But what are the steps we take to reach that outcome?
“The basis of all successful projects is a clear objective and scope” says Ravi Wickramasuriya, Senior Project Manager at Generis, “as well as Sponsorship commitment from leadership to ensure project resources are sufficient (time, people, budget) and flexibility to support changes to the scope if appropriate. It’s also important to build in enough time to work with the client to get an aligned definition of user requirements/stories.”
Only with a solid foundation, can a project be delivered successfully. Our project implementation process of refining customer requirements into business explanations, helps the Generis team write Technical Execution Descriptions (TEDs). These TEDs ensure both sides are aligned on requirements and expectations at an early stage, establishing a deeper understanding of what the customer is looking to achieve with the CARA Platform. By doing this we can ensure a right-first-time approach, and make sure that our users’ pain-points are fully resolved upon delivery of the platform.
How can the customer ensure they are prepared to move to the CARA Platform?
Every use case is different, and before kicking off the project, it’s important for the customer to ask us how we can help them, and importantly, how CARA can be made to suit their individual, specialist requirements.
“What is the customer looking to achieve with CARA? What are their strategic plans? CARA is a very flexible and robust platform that has the power to be the driving force behind a wider digital transformation strategy. But first, we need to understand what they require and what level of configuration is needed to meet those requirements.” Says Jan-Christoph Peters, Project Manager at Generis.
“The customer must ensure they have reviewed their business processes to help us understand how CARA is best configured to meet their needs” Ravi adds, “As well as having a clear understanding of any migration and integration requirements, and who to contact to support these workstreams. It’s crucial to have someone responsible on both sides of the project to ensure clear and consistent lines of communication.”
A solid understanding of current data architecture and processes will expedite the implementation. It’s key to know what data needs to be migrated to CARA, and to know the quality of that data. Similarly, by having a defined view of what use cases are in scope will help us shape CARA around their specific business needs, and work together to outline the benefits and roadmap.
“Having a good understanding of your data landscape will help facilitate a smooth migration to CARA. Data enrichment and accurate data mapping are the two most time-consuming parts of a project for the customer. But, both are crucial steps for a successful migration and to prevent any snags after the ‘go live’, so quality in both enrichment and mapping is essential in getting the most out of your data.” Jan commented.
We understand not all teams may have in-depth knowledge of all areas of their business processes, for example if they are new to the business, in which case Generis will work collaboratively to help them clarify and standardise through the requirements gathering process, and understand the need to be flexible if changes are required further into the project.
Not all software & IT projects go to plan, do you have any methods for avoiding typical pitfalls?
The best method for reducing the risk of unexpected pitfalls is preparation. By following our PM’s advice in the above points, ensuring both the project team and the customer are aligned on expectations, strategy, and outcomes, they’re already on track for a successful project.
“To prepare for any issues, the customer must follow an aligned project plan and identify any potential risks, with mitigation options if issues arise. Clear communication is vital if the project is veering off track, as well as ensuring you hold regular project team and steering committee calls to review progress, next steps, and anywhere help is needed to remove potential blockers.” adds Rex Harrison, Senior Project Manager at Generis.
“Appropriate resource management is critical on both the client side, and the project team’s side. To review resourcing across projects at Generis, we hold weekly Project Management Overview meetings with our CEO, helping us remain on track for all deliverables.” Adds Ravi.
What is an example of a recent success story?
“We recently completed a project for a large North American financial organisation – 16 million records across 7 separate docbases were consolidated onto CARA in time to avoid the client paying a 7-figure license renewal fee with their current system provider. CARA’s integration capabilities allowed for the integration of multiple applications supporting the organisation’s processes, and the platform’s ease of security, quality and compliance was utilised to maintain highly confidential information for data protection. The organisation saw substantial cost savings and received a much more responsive and configurable system, improving user adoption and overall experience.” Ravi commented.
“One example of a successful project that had to be completed in a short space of time was with an American Health and Wellness service provider. We implemented a Quality DMS with customised workflows and validated in less than a month. This was all possible thanks to CARA’s configuration capabilities. As a low-code platform, custom solutions can be built quickly and easily, without the need for a product change or customisation.” Added Rex.
Embarking on an IT project doesn’t need to feel like a risk, with the right preparations and due diligence, along with quality management from an experienced team like that at Generis, a project really can be executed smoothly. By following the advice of our PM’s above, we can begin to break the idea that IT projects are synonymous with issues, delays, and ever-increasing price tags – all of this can be avoided with proper structure and consistent management.
To find out more about how you can increase efficiency and transform your processes with our CARA Platform and CARA Life Sciences Platform, get in touch today at: firstname.lastname@example.org