Implementing a project management solution in your organization is a lot like building a house.
Although you’re eager to start construction so you can move in ASAP, there are a lot of steps involved, from the moment you purchase a plot of land to the move-in date. It’s a process that demands planning so there are fewer surprises and the construction team can hit the ground running.
Integrating a tool that helps you manage complex projects requires the same level of preparation. The organizations that are the most successful in implementing a project management solution understand the importance of the planning stage. The more time you spend planning, the less time you’ll waste on reconfiguring the solution when it’s already up and running.
Don’t rush the implementation
Complex projects put immense pressure on an organization. They are prone to data sprawl – fragmented sets of digital information nearly impossible to track – which decreases productivity and increases costs.
When you finally decide which tool you’ll implement to curb data sprawl, you’re anxious to make it a part of your workflow and reap the benefits of better project management. However, it’s important to look before you leap. Or, in other words, plan first, implement second.
Rushing is one of the most common mistakes organizations make when implementing a project management tool. If you don’t invest time in planning out your use case, you won’t be able to get the most value out of the app that will manage your project.
Ben Simon, senior manager of customer success at Quickbase, advises organizations to ask the following questions prior to implementation:
What data are we going to track?
What are the reports that we are going to use that will show us how we are performing with that data?
What are the dashboards that we should be creating?
What are the different roles that are within these workflows and the different dashboards that can correspond with these roles?
Pre-implementation is also the stage to evaluate any potential risks to your organization, including cybersecurity risks. How will your choice of project management solution keep your data secure? Will it put you at risk of any regulatory non-compliance? What kind of governance guardrails does it offer to control how stakeholders view and add data?
Answering these questions in the early stages will spare you frustration later on – you will have an app at your disposal that is easy to track, has all the data you need, and is accessible to the right people.
Determine the level of IT involvement
The complexity of the implementation process depends greatly on the use case. This will determine whether you will need to involve the IT department or if a team of citizen developers can build the apps.
Citizen developers are people within your organization who aren’t part of the IT department but can still create application capabilities for themselves or the team. A citizen developer isn’t a role per se but rather a person who uses low or no-code technology to build software solutions.
At Quickbase, we see use cases that fall on both ends of the spectrum.
A provider of energy efficiency solutions, CLEAResult was able to build a project management app to manage the entire lifecycle of its energy programs using low-code technology. The process didn’t require any IT support, which was a relief as the company only had two people in the IT department who were responsible for over 150 employees.
Procter & Gamble's Global Business Services (GBS) organization had a more complex project, so the company had its systems administrator develop an app where it could track all capital projects. This app helped the GBS Capital service line manage over 1,600 projects. For other use cases, GBS managers also developed almost 70 applications to improve collaboration and productivity.
Mitigate single points of failure
When implementing a tool for managing complex projects, it’s best to have a small but dedicated team to take ownership of the process.
Some organizations fall into the trap of relying on just one employee to implement and maintain the solution. This opens the door to a single-point-of-failure scenario in case the employee takes extended time off or leaves the company altogether. Then the organization is stuck with a system that is critical to project success, and no one knows how it works.
Ideally, the goal is to have a team of two to three employees who will spearhead the implementation and update it as the needs of your project change.
Take full advantage of a low-code platform
A low-code project management solution like Quickbase allows you to implement it in a way that works best for your organization and to do so quickly. Once you understand what kind of app you need to build and the people who will be involved, the app can be ready in a couple of weeks.
What’s more, the people who are closest to the project can design workflows that are tailored to their needs. No coding experience is required – only expertise in their field. “The great thing about low-code is that it doesn't require a professional coding background, so it allows people to take the expertise they have within their field and incorporate it into designing processes that work well for them. And that allows their data to be exactly in front of the person it should be,” explains Simon.
“Someone who works in construction, manufacturing, or real estate can take full ownership of designing workflows that work for them, their superiors, and their directs so that they can move things forward in the way they want to. It's not going to be something that was designed by someone who has never worked in their field before.”
Low-code also provides the flexibility you need to keep up with macroeconomic challenges. Supply chain disruptions, workforce reductions, and environmental emergencies can all impact your projects. Agile project management solutions can help you pivot quickly without requiring a team of developers or sacrificing efficiency.