There are many well written articles about selecting the right “partner” for your process improvement or system implementation project. I agree with the details they outline; however, once you are comfortable with the organization, you need to evaluate the individual personnel. Whether you are implementing new software or changing the operations in accounting, the project manager becomes a key member of your leadership team. The project manager needs to understand your business and develop your staff to understand and take ownership of the new system or process.
NOTE: I define a successful project as one where your organization is getting the most out of the new system or new process. Your staff takes ownership and continually strives for process improvements to maximize your ROI. I do not define a successful implementation is simply following a procedure or turning on new technology.
When you select a doctor, you first select the practice based upon a speciality; however, it is the individual doctors’ skills, rapport and experience that guides your final selection.
After you select your implementation firm, meet with and evaluate the project manager. They are going to manage your expectations, meet your requirements and engage your staff to accept and fully understand the new system.
Evaluate the consultants in the following areas:
- Skills – Confirm they understand and can develop a holistic view of your business in order to best apply the process or application. A certified project manager is a great asset, but they also need to understand how your company will utilize and adapt to the changes.
- Rapport – Your consultant must be able to manage your expectations to help you understand the process and system designs. You and your staff need to understand the business impact of what is being implemented. Remember, once the consultant leaves, your staff runs the processes, manages the system and answers to the auditors. The consultants must be able to help your staff take ownership of the new process and system to support future upgrades.
- Experience – Is the consultant a “system user” or a “system consultant” with various experience across multiple companies? A system user runs the same processes each month with a single company design. Often referred to as “1 year experience 5 times in a row”. System consultants have adapted the processes or system to support multiple company’s requirements and support their staff.
Invest the time up front to pick the right company and resource(s). Selecting a consultant that fits your company and requirements will help deliver the most out of your new processes and system investment.
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