As a Project Manager, it’s important to understand that your time is usually spread over several tasks and/or projects for any given day. For this reason it is extremely important to set the correct expectations with customers. Over the last couple months this lesson has been reiterated to me again and again in several different forms.
One area of Project Management that I feel is often overlooked is the presentation of information. This applies to both presenting to your immediate project team members as well as the project stakeholders. The value of providing good presentations to your audience reinforces their confidence in you as the Project Manager, and it also builds credibility within the Project Team.
I recently attended a class on Presentation Skills provided by Dr. James Brown. He stressed a number of points that I believe are the key to the successful delivery of a presentation, and here are my top takeaways:
In the course of doing some work for one of our partners – we were asked to take a look at the existing workload for their ECM team. This particular ECM team has done a great job maintaining and integrating ECM components from a variety of vendors. As typical in such an environment – we found that everyone on the team had primary support duties for at least one component, and was involved in customer support issues or updating /enhancing one or more of the company’s ECM products on pretty much a daily basis. Continue reading
As a Project Manager at ImageSource, it is my job to educate and guide stakeholders to the best solution based on budget, timelines and requirements. Having previously worked as a consultant at ImageSource, I’ve worked with the stakeholders of an organization to outline the scope of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution for their business. During this process, our project management team conducts interviews of the users as well as workshops. The workshops help to demonstrate what is necessary for the organization to become more efficient rather than having unnecessary features, which, at times, can cause more work. As ECM technology continues to advance, more and more features become available and included in products. During the workshops, stakeholders must make tough decisions on what features are needed verses those that would just be nice to have.
Once these requirements are identified, our next objective is to review the products available, such as ILINX, IBM and Oracle, that will cover all the features the business needs to become more efficient. Currently on the market are several out-of-the-box software options that may fulfill some of the requirements needed. However, most organizations, small or large, have business processes that are unique and require configurable workflow options, database links and/or specific security requirements. Software that has this functionality ranges in licensing costs, software costs and implementation costs. It is important to have the requirements clearly identified from the beginning so that when the organization begins to review the software demos and proof of concepts, the best and most cost efficient solution is selected.
We’re going to add one more item to our pre-ECM project checklist:
1) Where should we store our content?
Database storage used to be expensive. In the 1950’s, the cost per megabyte of storage exceeded $10,000/MB. Today, the cost has dropped to a few cents. Not only have storage costs dropped, so have memory costs as they have followed the same price drop as storage. Taking advantage of lower costs; most DB manufacturers have begun offering high performance in memory databases (IMDB – In-Memory Database).
From an ECM perspective; because of the higher database costs, content storage solutions were designed to use databases to store only the metadata or the index values associated with content, and the actual files and documents were stored on cheaper file storage devices. While lowering costs, this approach meant that ECM solutions were forced with managing, synchronizing, backing up, and designing applications where index values were one place and the actual documents, audio/video files were somewhere else. Continue reading
Part 3 – The Project Team
In previous blogs on this same subject, we have discussed the role of Executive Management in the overall Project Team effort. And what elements from the internal organization would likely comprise an effective team. In summary, vibrant and effective executive leadership is likely to be critical in solidifying the vision for the project. The target of effort to achieve project acceptance and enthusiasm is cascading in that the focus of executive leadership is middle management. The components of a project team may be different for each organization or type of organization – whatever best suites the particular organizational structure, and what special considerations there might be in the project (i.e. does it involve web content, collaboration, integration with ERP or SharePoint environments, etc.).
Part 2 – The Project Team
I discussed in Part 1 on this general topic that the strong support of the intended Project by executive management is a critical factor for success – they need to support the projects sponsor, and smooth the path of challenges that sometimes occur when change is contemplated. Vibrant and effective executive leadership is likely to be critical in solidifying the vision for the project. The target of effort to achieve project acceptance and enthusiasm is cascading in that the focus of executive leadership is middle management, and then it effort fans out to focus on users and supervisors.