Wednesday 16 March 2022

How to start implementing a system for project management in the organization?

Note that when asking how to implement a project management system in an organization, the client often implies the question of how to avoid failure when implementing the system.

This question is quite natural when it comes from the employees of an organization in which such systems have never been used before. Moreover, among the newcomers, managers can be identified who already have experience in planning projects using paper forms and want to automate these procedures.

Others, under the influence of advertising sellers of project management software, are just beginning to think about automating management processes based on the project approach.

However, with the spread of systems for project management in Russia, we increasingly began to encounter a situation where this issue is addressed to us by companies that have already tried to implement systems for project management (usually with limited success). Sometimes there are organizations that have tried several different packages for project management and did not find a suitable one among them.

Interestingly, our questions about the reasons for the failure of an attempt to use a particular package are suspiciously often called the absence or inappropriate implementation of any function in the system. However, a few simple questions about the criteria used to select the package, and a request to show a task plan for implementing the system in the organization reveal other reasons for failure. Managers wanted to find a program that would itself be implemented and worked in their organization.

In almost all cases, there was simply no plan to implement the system.

Here it is appropriate to recall the classic story of a shoemaker without boots. When buying a system for planning and managing projects, managers forget that the implementation of a system that implies some (sometimes significant) change in management processes in the organization also requires a systematic approach that includes planning a set of works and monitoring their implementation. In other words, it is best to start mastering the project management system in the organization with the development of a work plan for the implementation of the system.

The developed implementation plan should not be limited to the installation of software in the organization and the training of users in the functions of the system. Projects to install new management automation systems traditionally cover a much wider range of tasks, from the additional formalization of procedures for the collection and storage of management information to the implementation of changes in the organizational management structure and the redistribution of responsibilities. In general, projects for the implementation of such systems can be attributed to the class of organizational projects - projects that to one degree or another lead to the development of the structure of the organization. 


A distinctive feature of this type of project is that the success or failure of the project may depend on the effectiveness of the organization as a whole or its individual divisions. For this reason, careful planning and control of not only the technical, but also the human aspects of the implementation of the system becomes of particular importance. The composition and content of the tasks solved within the framework of such a project can make up the topic of a separate conversation. Here, I would like to highlight just a few of the general aspects of planning such projects.

It is possible to formulate a few of the most common errors in planning the implementation of systems for project management, which are the reasons for failures in the development of such systems:

Project objectives and expected results are not defined in advance or are not fully defined. Tight time constraints, impatience, or inconsistent leadership may prevent project objectives from being fully realized.

Schedule the commissioning of all project management pack features at the same time. The full implementation of a project management system may involve the use of a number of new technologies (for example, the installation of a global information network and client-server databases), and the implementation of various functions may affect the work of different sub-teams and specialists (for example, different departments should be involved in supporting information flows in the implementation of time, resource and cost types of work planning). All this can lead to a significant complication of the project and makes it problematic to stabilize the system as a whole.
Planning the transfer of the entire organization at once to the use of the system for project management. This is similar to trying to link all employees of a large organization to a local area network at once, instead of connecting users sequentially department by department.

Thus, some general guidelines for implementing project management software include:

Decide what you want from the implementation of the new system. Discuss the expected results from the implementation of the system with all those who may be affected at different levels of management in the organization (both with the direct users of the system and with the users/ providers of information for the system).

Plan a consistent implementation in the use of planning and management functions from simple to complex. We recommend that you start by planning and controlling time parameters, then master the functions of resource planning and only then move on to cost planning and control. It is better to move to the integration of the project management system with other systems after the procedures for using its main functions have been mastered.

Plan the implementation of the system by department. It is better to start with a small department with sufficiently qualified employees. It must be remembered that in every organization there are employees who are more interested in using new automation systems and are more capable of mastering them. It is better to start with them. 


Once you have the first group of users who have mastered the system, you can proceed to the distribution of this technology to other departments in the organization. When the system begins to really work in the organization, opponents of its use will also have to move into the ranks of users. It is important to make sure that department heads are aware of the plans for implementing the new system and act according to the plan.

Of course, here are just some tips regarding the implementation of project management software. The extent to which such systems are used in different organizations can vary considerably.

The complexity of implementation tasks depends on the scale of the organization, the existing management structure and the degree of automation, the scale and type of projects being implemented, the degree of involvement of external organizations in project management.

However, even in relatively simple situations, the implementation plan of the system can play a decisive role in putting it into real operation. The most important role of the project approach to the development of the system is that it allows you to involve potential users of the system in a single project team and thus enlist their support. This is what gives a chance for the success of the implementation of the system in the organization.

No comments:

Post a Comment