Nowadays, companies are going through a lot of project launchings in a year. Whether it is for a new system implementation or a product launch, the modern company is constantly in “project management” mode. Despite a lot of experience from our managers, it always is a challenge to estimate the actual effort and time required for the project completion.
I met with Geneviève Siméon, an expert in business solutions for over 25 years. She is a project manager at Era Consulting Group and guided many companies through successful project management ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning system) implementations. She kindly accepted to share her experience to help managers get the most out of all their projects.
The setbacks of a project are rarely due to technology. ‘’Lack of resources is often the main issue encountered during a project,” says our expert.
Many companies operate according to the philosophy of “Lean Management”. This very trendy method manages productivity by optimizing the quality level ratio for a minimum of resources. Although it provides obvious advantages for the companies, it doesn’t always set the best conditions for a solid project implementation.
Geneviève explains that the availability of resources is a key element for effective project completion. In lean management, the production of each resource is maximized. When they’re asked to include a new project in their schedule, they often get a hard time to reorganize themselves and keep same level of quality. The employer must get involved to support them, review tasks and free up their time, especially during the more intense phases of the project.
The Management Commitment
This brings us to the outmost importance of the company’s commitment to the project.
It is the management’s responsibility to lead and support employees during the project. They must stay close to the resources involved in the project, consult them on a regular base, ensure their full participation and, above all, to give them the means to do so. For some companies, this will mean to free up some resources’ times or a reorganization of their schedule.
We recognize here the importance of establishing, right from the start, a good project planification. Many companies admit that they may not have all the necessary in-house expertise to develop and follow a strict plan and clearly see the benefits of choosing a good external partner to support them throughout the project.
Geneviève shares that the initial project planning is one of the most important phases to ensure success. It makes it possible to evaluate critical paths, interdependencies and risks and to establish and solidify the support of senior management and all employees involved.
All this reorganization brings its share of changes and challenges. The best structured companies often involve human resources management to support resources in their adaptation processes.
We have to make sure to maintain the best possible working atmosphere during the whole project. Actively listening to the participants helps identify irritants and ensure homogeneous execution.
Our Expert’s Advices
The last few weeks of confinement and telework brought their share of challenges and restructuring. Before it started, some projects were in the start-up phase, while others were in full swing. A good recovery plan is essential to give our ongoing projects a second start on solid bases. Our expert suggests we ask ourselves 3 key questions:
1. When should we expect the project to start back? Setting a date will allow resources to be contacted, scheduled and get ready.
2. Have the involved resources availabilities changed over time? Variables such as the new strategies for a gradual return to the work site or a change in summer vacation dates should be considered. New resources may be needed to compensate and adjust.
3. What is the company’s new reality? Some companies will be quite comfortable pursuing the project at a distance using tools like video conferences, while others will prefer on site meetings. In order to ensure that the project runs smoothly, the new measures will have to be predetermined and included in the recovery plan.
Era Consulting Group, expert in ERP implementation for more than 15 years and seasoned in project management, can guide you through all the important choices you will have to make in the coming weeks. Do not hesitate to ask our experts for advice.