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Be Prepared: The Right People for the Right Job

By: Anthony Wilder Puzzuoli

Often when clients discuss their project budget, they are really asking, "How much money is this project going to cost us?" Clients may need to strategize and ensure sufficient funding is in place or explore fundraising options to secure the necessary finances for their desired work. A crucial aspect of this process that clients must budget for is the allocation of resources to the individuals involved in the project.

One of the biggest potential pitfalls in a project is a lack of qualified resources allocated by the client ahead of time. In other words, you have not properly identified the correct stakeholders or made sure to properly allocate enough time for them to focus on the project. This post will help you set yourself up for success!

Client stakeholders include staff at your organization who will be working on the project alongside the Idealist team. Stakeholders can be broken up into five categories:

  • Executive Sponsor: An executive-level individual who has a vested interest in project success.
  • Champion: A person who will help you internally advocate for project success.
  • Project Lead/Project Manager: The one point of contact who will communicate regularly with the consulting partner and is empowered to make key decisions.
  • Subject Matter Experts: These folks have intimate knowledge of and experience working with your business processes that we’ll be building into your solution. We’ll be relying on their expertise throughout the discovery process and in user testing.
  • Project Support: Other staff members who will be helping to make this project a success. This may include your accounts payable person who will be receiving invoices or the person who might be scheduling meetings for everyone.

To be clear, it’s okay if your project doesn’t have all of these stakeholders involved. Sometimes, for smaller projects, it’s not necessary. Or with a smaller organization, the same person is the Executive Sponsor, Champion, Project Lead, and Subject Matter Expert. We know folks working at nonprofits may wear many hats! However, of these five, the most essential is the Project Lead. Without a strong Project Lead, even the best implementation partner will have a challenge working with your organization. No matter their role, any team members working on the project can help make it a success by:

  • Trusting our process
  • Having a sense of direction for the project
  • Being flexible
  • Communicating effectively, respectfully, and often
  • Having a Growth Mindset

The Idealist Consulting project team will be showing up to the project in the same way, ready to work with your team towards a successful project!

So what does that look like? How much time will your team need to budget to work on your project, and when in the project will their time be most necessary?

At Idealist Consulting, we’ll be leading the general implementation of the solution and will partner with your staff to complete three specific deployment efforts. First, we will engage your team in the Discovery process where we will depend on your staff to guide us through business processes and vision‌. Second, your staff will assist in selecting configuration and user story grooming. This may include validation of field values, review of workflows, and deeper understanding of requirements. Third, your staff will be engaged to facilitate testing associated with configuration efforts that are guided by the preceding user story composition and resulting configuration. Throughout this process, we will depend on your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to share and define business requirements that will complement all three configuration efforts.

While the Project Lead will be the most engaged person throughout the project, other members of your project team will be needed during the initial Discovery phase, and to complete user testing when sprints related to their work are ready. Here is a breakdown with rough estimates of the time required for each role:

  • Executive Sponsor(s): 1-3 hours per week
  • Project Lead: 7-15 hours per week
  • Subject Matter Experts: 3-5 hours per week for assigned sprints
  • Project Support: 3-4 hours a week for support tasks like invoicing

Ensuring your team is ready and has budgeted the hours needed will be important to project success. Having the right people involved helps make our Discovery calls more fruitful and feedback during user testing more beneficial to building your solution optimally! 

We also understand that there are events, vacations, and holidays that can affect the availability of your project team. Communicating those to your Idealist Consulting team allows us to plan for and work around them during the build. 

Like budgeting for the financial costs of a project, budgeting for the valuable time your team needs to devote to this project is just as important to project success. Interested in learning how Idealist Consulting can help craft a technology solution that meets your team’s needs? Give us a call!

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