Putting Together an ECM Project Team Part 3

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.).

The Role of Line of Business Managers in the Project Team

As your project will likely either be addressing a limited requirement of a single department or two, or will be the start of an enterprise wide implementation of ECM, it is always recommended that it focus on a manageable quantity of work – normally one or two Departmental or workgroup solutions.  Enterprise wide ECM, ERM, and Business Process Management implementations usually start with one or two departments.   The Department(s) chosen for the Project are normally those where enthusiasm for improvements is high, cooperation is supportive, and where the business entity will benefit highly from the application of ECM technologies.

Starting with one or two areas that have been carefully selected based on their high potential for success and strong need for improvement, permits the rapid and clear demonstration of  ECM technology benefits – and that strong example can assist in the acceptance of the larger project to come across the enterprise.

Departmental management and supervisory involvement and strong support is crucial.  The organization’s line-of-business (LOB) managers understand the routine and cyclical “problems and challenges” of business operations.  They are operational experts within their areas of responsibility, know the character of the staff resources they have to work with, entity strengths and weaknesses, the potential to accept change, and what “change management” efforts should be implemented.   These LOB Managers and supervisors routinely “concentrate on organizational effectiveness through current processes” they will become the bridges that will carry the success of the ECM project forward into routine of daily work production.

The LOB Managers and other key supervisory or lead personnel need to be considered for the Project Team for either full involvement, or participation in the development of specific new process or workflow designs.

  • They are most cognizant of what is done in their departments and why, what documents are received and how they are processed, the various sources of data (paper from internal and mail sources, voice mails, emails, internet provided input, etc.).
  • They understand the decision criteria in the flow of work, the point where specific processes are needed, risks to successful processing, exception processing, and all the rest of the challenges that will need to be considered in a process design.
  • They also know which other business areas need access to their documents and data.
  • They usually have the only available insight into key details regarding operational systems, processes, and policies that support their organization’s mission.

When you apply ECM and BPM technology to an organization’s routine processes, you must have input and significant levels of planning participation from the managers and key personnel who are most familiar with operations so they can ensure that the new system will be successful in meeting objectives at all meaningful levels.  These people are needed to allow the project team to reach all objectives through consistent operational production.

From time to time this blog will continue with the subject of project team challenges, some considerations to remember, use of supporting vendor resources, and some recommended methods for implementation.

Neil W. Lindsey, ECMm, CDIA+
Project Manager / Senior Business Analyst
ImageSource, Inc.