Putting a Project Team Together for a Successful Electronic Records Management Project

By Carl Weise posted 06-03-2011 10:44


For a successful ERM project, you need a solid project team.  These will be the people who will do the work on the project, including:

- Estimating, scheduling, and planning timelines,

- Planning for required resources and risk,

- Designing policies, processes, and technology solutions that work within the overall   organizational strategic direction and governance framework, and

 - Implementing those policies, processes, and technology solutions.

The project team should be comprised of subject matter experts in their particular areas of the organization.  Each member of the team should have a good understanding of the processes in their respective areas.  This suggests that team members should be more senior in the particular department or process, rather than using junior staff or new staff because they are considered less valuable and more easily made available.

Team members need not be technology gurus; in fact, IT will more than adequately represent the hard technology requirement for the organization.  But as this is a records management-related project and program, it is helpful to have team members who are at least comfortable with electronic records and technology, in general.

Senior management has so much influence on the success of the project, and the program, that they cannot be ignored.  The program owner acts on behalf of the organization to ensure that the program delivers the benefits described in the business case and aligns with the overall goals of the organization.  The program owner is personally accountable to the senior management to ensure the success of the program, both its initiation and on an ongoing basis.

For a records management program, this might be the CIO, general counsel, the head of the risk management function, or wherever responsibility lies for overall governance and compliance for the enterprise.

The project sponsor is another senior management role.  This role is responsible for approving and initiating the records management project.  The sponsor may also select the project manager for the project.  The sponsor negotiates with other project sponsors, directors and senior management to prioritize this project among all the other projects going on in the organization and is responsible for ensuring that the project has adequate resources including staff, money, and time.  The sponsor will also review the project plan and budget at the start of the project and periodically as the project continues.

The project sponsor will communicate the benefits of the project to the rest of senior management and will also keep senior management informed as to the progress and status of the project on an ongoing basis.

The project team needs to be put together, including the project manager, the team leads, and any additional experts required over the course of the project.

The most important role on the project team is the project manager.  This role is focused on making all the other project team members successful and requires a person who can communicate, facilitate, and negotiate between different team members, the project sponsor, and sometimes other stakeholders.

The project manager’s responsibilities include:

- Developing and maintaining project plans and schedules, and with the project sponsor and program owner, developing the project budget,

- Coordinating resources and requirements, including internal staff, budgets, and third-party resources like consultants, contractors, and vendors,

 - Coordinating delivery of all of the moving parts in the project as scheduled and within the timeframe allotted,

- Managing project risk.  This includes identifying potential risks and developing a risk mitigation plan to avoid or address them should they occur, and

 - Communicating the progress and status of the project to the project team members, project sponsor and senior management.

The right people will need to be added to the team.  Good project team members are respected by their department for their depth of knowledge and experience and ability to use them effectively.  They are senior enough that they understand all the processes in the particular department.  They are also respected by the organization for their contributions.

They should be creative self-starters who are focused on the success of the project for their department and for the organization as a whole, and who recognize the value of the contributions they will need to make.

They are team players who are honest when planning and committing to deliverables, and respectful of others’ commitments and concerns.  The team has to gel quickly and all pull in the same direction if the project is to be a success.  Finally, project team members should be willing to accept ownership of the project and their part in it and be accountable to the rest of the team for their tasks and deliverables.

While implementing a Records Management Program can be a challenge, having the right project team can help lead to success.

What are your thoughts on the best composition of a project team?

Tell us about your experiences managing, or participating in, project teams.

#ECM #ERM #ElectronicRecordsManagement