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The Importance of a Strong Project Manager

You’ve probably heard about how important it is to have an experienced Project Manager for the simple reason of ensuring project success. It’s like buying project insurance. You’ve probably also heard the statistics that less than half of software development projects finish with a product the customer is thrilled with, within the desired scope, schedule and budget.

From an earlier time in my career, long before I managed projects, I had the impression that a Project Manager was a person who built Gantt charts, wrote status reports and scheduled meetings. That may have been true on the surface, but those weren’t characteristics that made an effective project manager. An effective Project Manager is someone who keeps tabs on scope, schedule, budget and quality. Someone who computes variances, writes project plans and creates check lists. They are more than just a programmer who developed a few solutions successfully and happened to be around long enough to be asked to manage projects, they are the hub of that project universe – keeping communication open, the details handled and the project moving in the right direction.

When you are choosing an ECM services team, it’s important to consider the strength of the Project Management team in your evaluation. Here are a few topics to think about when evaluating a Project Management Team:

  • Experience level within a wide variety of industries and markets
  • A strong, mature relationship with one or more ECM vendors
  • Has breadth of experience with a variety of platforms, integrations and technologies
  • Skill sets that absorb and integrate the newest technologies, but also the ability to integrate with an older system and breathe new life into it
  • Has worked across many organizational structures, sizes and cultures
  • Has expertise in building both the super-custom, never-been-done-before solutions, as well as developing products that capture best-of-breed functionality at a low cost

Those qualities are a solid start, but a truly effective Project Management team cannot rely solely on knowledge and experience.  A good PM needs to be able to help the customer understand the unknown as well as what is known and clearly identify those elements that need to be better defined.  An effective Project Management team will then communicate in all directions including vendors, customer project teams and management.

Whether you are currently evaluating your project portfolio or someone new to the benefits ECM can bring to your organization, it’s critical to consider not only the software, but also the team that will be implementing and supporting the solution that you are investing in and counting on to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.