IT Project Managers act as coaches to empower team members, express concern, communicate success, create vision and advise stakeholders.
Taking on a new point of sale implementation can be a daunting task. Change can be difficult when your employees are accustomed to a specific set of processes and software and you plan to augment or alter those functions with a new software system. Employees have their own specific job tasks to handle and placing additional tasks required in a point of sale conversion project may be more than they have time to manage. This is why having an assigned Project Manager is so important.
An IT Project Manager’s objectives are to coordinate and control activities within a project as well as foresee and predict as many risks as possible to ensure that the project is completed successfully despite any setbacks. The activities of an IT PM include planning, organizing, staffing, directing, monitoring, controlling and representing a project.
While the ultimate goal of a retail implementation project is to have a fully-functioning point of sale and inventory management solution, the project itself is made up of many smaller pieces. While several resources are required in order to accomplish the full project scope, be they technical, development, or otherwise, a PM is critical to ensuring that all of the resources are coordinated effectively for a successful final result.
Below are the top ten reasons your project requires an assigned PM:
- Strategize Project Direction: Project Managers provide vision and direction for a project. They are charged with seeing the “big picture” end goal for the project, but must think big and act small. PMs must focus on setting smaller, incremental steps and tasks that will lead to the completion of the final scope.
- Increased Efficiency and Communication: A Project Manager adds value by making tasks more efficient and effective. They also act as a single point of contact for stakeholders in order to clear confusion and increase accuracy, performing as the liaison between client and technical services, development, sales and other teams involved. By confirming what activities should occur in what order, they allow for a faster and more efficient project and each team can work more effectively with fewer interruptions. Making stakeholders aware of risks and successes along the course of the project as well as communicating goals and performance in regularly scheduled reports keeps all stakeholders on the same page over the life of a project.
- Reduced Risk: Things go wrong in a project due to lack of communication, synchronization, or differences in understanding. PM’s help mitigate this by creating and maintaining schedules and making sure all parties are on the same page. The PM anticipates risk and creates risk-response processes to track the status of problems as well as prevent and/or manage problems, should they arise.
- Allocation of Resources: PM’s manage scarce resources towards a defined end goal using a temporary organizational structure. They allocate these scarce resources in a way that gets the project closer to the defined goal. This includes prioritizing, monitoring, shifting and adjusting time, people and equipment.
- Control Scope: PM’s help to minimize scope creep (continuous changes to the initial project) by putting markers in place before teams can add or take away from the scope. A PM’s continual decision making, reorganization and re-prioritization can help control scope as stakeholders learn, adapt and change the idea of the final outcome.
- Manage Costs: Monetary costs for the project can expand as the scope changes or problems arise. By having a PM actively monitoring the scope and resources, this helps to manage costs by controlling the variables that may increase costs and communicating to all teams of these potential cost increases.
- Manage Time: Team members who will be involved in a project still have day to day responsibilities and managing project time can be a challenge. PM’s manage deadlines by setting and maintaining the schedule.
- Scheduling the Work: A PM’s tasks include making sure that assigned team members are working in the correct order and calculating the time and tasks to meet deadlines as efficiently as possible.
- Administration of Procurements: As a point of sale implementation project proceeds, there will be hardware and software procurement to manage. The PM manages the timing and requirements for this procurement so that they are coordinated effectively with the needs of the project.
- Closing the Project: Over the course of the project, a PM must know and control what “done” looks like and how the project teams can get there together. PMs will document and review the project, manage final completion of tasks, close out completed tasks, and communicate any project follow up to stakeholders.
Some may say that if you have the “right” team members, you don’t need a Project Manager. However, you must consider that team members may already be overworked, even without PM responsibilities. Having a dedicated project PM to strategize, communicate, consider scope and cost, and schedule tasks can help eliminate poor decisions that can result from lack of time. Understanding the hiccups (and cost associated) that can occur from these resulting poor decisions make it difficult to justify putting these important responsibilities onto already overworked employees.
PM’s act as coaches to empower team members, express concern, communicate success, create vision and advise stakeholders. They must be productive and results-oriented. Having a PM that can see the end goal, but also manage the smaller steps along the way, will contribute to the ultimate success of your new system implementation.