Your company has committed to digitising and improving its business processes, a technology platform has been chosen, implementation specialists have been hired, and you have been tasked with managing the project. How do you ensure that this venture will be successful?
First off – take a deep breath.
We know that if this is your first time managing a large technology project that is there is a lot at stake and you want to get it right.
Remember, the technology is there to enable your business to operate more efficiently. It is your job to use both the technology and the implementation specialists to create the best possible solution for your organisation. We’ve provided a few practical pointers below to help you successfully manage your first BPM project.
Broadly speaking business process management (BPM) is about:
- Understanding the unique processes that your company uses to operate
- Streamlining these procedures to support operational efficiency
- Standardising and controlling how each step within these processes is performed
External experts can advise you holistically on the best methods to achieve your end goals, but no one understands the intricacies of your business like you and your team do. To ensure that your company’s BPM project is a success you need to understand your responsibilities.
Get all the Right Stakeholders Together for the First Few Scoping Sessions
Everyone has their own idea of the best way to perform their tasks, if they didn’t you would not be trying to standardise your processes. It is important that all the key stakeholders are gathered in one room to discuss the initial requirements for the project. This approach ensures that everyone is on the same page from day one.
An interesting ice-breaker for the first session is to have each person draw a representation of the ideal house on a blank sheet of page. Without more detailed specifications each person is likely to create their own interpretation of what the ideal house would look like.
This exercise helps to illustrate why scoping sessions are so central to the success of the project. The objective of scoping sessions is to ensure that all stakeholder have a common understanding of what the project will entail and what the desired outcomes will be.
A few Don’ts
- Don’t expect everyone to enthusiastically agree on all points, as mentioned each person has their own idea of the best way to perform a task.
- Don’t set project deadlines until the full scope has been finalised, or you will be setting the project up for failure.
Read the Functional Specification Document
Much in the same way that your processes are corporate assets, so are your functional specification documents. These documents are the instruction manuals on how to build the business applications that your organisation will use for the foreseeable future.
Make sure that you read and understand the document. If anything is unclear ask! The experts were hired for their knowledge after all.
If the scope of the project is very broad, you may feel overwhelmed by the volume of information that you need to review. The best approach would then be to get the person (or people) who are responsible for various portions of the project to review, question and approve the sections within the larger document that are applicable to them.
Plan for Longevity, Allow for Flexibility
The technology solution that you are creating now, may grow and change, but it is important to remember that what is built today will quite likely be used by your company for the next 5 to 10 years. The more thoroughly that the solution is documented now, the easier it will be to modify in the future.
Why should you ensure that your BPM project is properly documented?
- All the stakeholders will know what they are getting, and the implementation team will know what you want and how to build it. Save the surprises for birthday gifts and April Fool’s gags.
- It will be much easier to make updates to your solution in future, no need to track down the people who were on the original project or sift through email archives.
- You can roll out your standardised process solutions to other branches or franchises with ease, while saving your organisation time and money.
We’ll let you digest this information for now. More practical advice on managing your BPM Project to follow.
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