The Project Management Institute estimated that as of 2017, organizations were wasting an average of $97 Million for every $1 Billion invested due to poor systems implementation. As a nonprofit, you cannot afford to make a mistake with your systems implementation. This is part 4 of our 4 part blog series that will help your nonprofit unlock its technology potential. Click here for part 3. This is adapted from our e-book. If you would like to access the complete e-book, please click here: https://mailchi.mp/modrahconsulting/comprehensive-project-implementation-guide-for-nonprofits
Going Live & Start-Up
At long last, the big day has come – it’s time to go live and get everything started. If you have followed the other steps correctly, this should be the least stressful part of the project.
Throwing the Switch
The three previous steps culminated with migrating and training. In other words, there should be little left to do other than throw the switch, so to speak. You’ll need to make the project deliverables available to all users – sending email invitations to all anticipated software users, for instance.
From this point, development ends, but your project is never truly done. Bugs and unanticipated outcomes will continue to crop up as your users put the system through its paces. Your team will need to continue to monitor, manage, and respond to those.
Training will also be an ongoing need. Ideally, you’ve trained enough people who can act as trainers for other users, but you may need to augment your trainers depending on the situation, the demands of other projects on their time, and other factors.
You’ll also need to continually provide support after the project goes live. Software updates, bug fixes, new feature/function rollouts – these are just a few of the things that your project team will continually need to handle.
The four-step project implementation strategy in this eBook should give you the framework necessary to begin moving forward on your own. Of course, it can be enormously challenging for nonprofits to handle projects in-house. Your budget is already stretched thin, and there’s a very good chance that you lack key talent on your existing team. What is the solution?
Working with a vendor can provide you with the deliverables you need while alleviating the requirement to create your own in-house project team from scratch. That frees you to focus on mission-critical goals and also prevents further strain on your resources. However, finding the right vendor can be challenging to say the least.
10 Questions to Ask Potential Vendors
We recommend asking the following 10 questions of any vendor you may be considering:
1. How much time will the vendor save your team? How much time will be required for the project with the vendor’s assistance?
2. What is the vendor’s policy in terms of outages and recovery? How are you notified of recovery times?
3. Is your information fully encrypted? What other security precautions does the vendor take?
4. Does the vendor provide upgrades? What is the process like? How are you notified and how are the upgrades scheduled?
5. What if you stop using the vendor – how do you migrate your data to another provider or an in-house platform?
6. Does the vendor assist when you go live?
7. Is there a single shift to a new platform or will you use old and new tools in tandem?
8. How much support is provided after the project’s active phases end?
9. Does the vendor cover all the steps covered in this book, including training and migration? What about reporting and configuration?
10. Does the vendor provide multiple separate calls/meetings to handle implementation, training, and configuration?
The right vendor will tick all the boxes and deliver critical solutions that ensure your project is on time and budget and that the deliverables you receive provide the value you anticipate.