Are your people keeping you great?

One of the most renowned management books of our time is Good to Great by Jim Collins. I read this some time back and one of the best chapters was dedicated to getting the right people in the right seats on the bus before deciding where the bus is going.

For those who aren’t a fan of analogies, what Jim is saying here is that for an organisation to be successful and adapt to change along the way, it first needs to have the right people in the right roles before it decides which direction it’s going to take.

Life in project land is a little different. Embarking on a project before knowing where you’re going is akin to professional suicide. However I think we can borrow half of this analogy as part of forming our project teams – once you know where your project bus is going, make sure you have the right people in the right seats on it.

Ensuring that the right people are involved in your CRM Project from day 1 (or day x should you already have started) will mean that you are well on the path towards success. This applies not only to the doers or implementers on your project, but also those defining the requirements.

Let’s start with the doers.  It’s not rocket science to know that a crack implementation team will lead to project success. Everything on projects is easy with a good team doing the work. The design is always right. Quality is top notch. Functionality is implemented as required. And your training program is executed with military precision.

However the implementers are only as good as the requirements that are fed to them. To ensure complete project success you need to give a lot of thought to who you put forward from the business itself to assist the project team with the implementation.

You will be well on the way to accomplishing your goals if your business people:

  • Have an encyclopaedic knowledge of how your business works today
  • Are embracing of change. Don’t put someone on the team who won’t be accepting of the transformation you’re currently undertaking
  • Demonstrate attention to detail
  • Can make decisions
  • Can influence others within the business units

Don’t be afraid to be picky about who you select for your team. The most successful organisations are very fussy about who they engage to carry out their mission so why shouldn’t you be? I’m not suggesting you implement an SAS style selection course for picking your team (although this would be entertaining).  However you are allowed to have standards for your team to ensure project success.

One final piece of advice: be accepting of conflict amongst your team members. Whilst a poor team will always experience conflict eventually leading to self-destruction, conflict on a team with the right people in the right roles is healthy. It shows that your team have bought in to the vision. It filters out poor ideas, leaving you with only the best to use in your implementation. As Project Manager you’ll need to control conflict, but don’t avoid it.

So next time you take the driver’s seat on your CRM Project Bus, give careful consideration to which project team members’ tickets you’re stamping before allowing them to take their own seat.