Have you ever seen a Work Plan or SOW for a Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation, and there were line items relating to Project Management on it?  Have you thought to yourself, ‘why do I need Project Management?’  I just want you to get me up and running on a Microsoft software system.  Well, let me tell you why Project Management is important – even for a CRM Implementation.

I like to think of Project Management as a form of protection in a way.  Protection for whom?  Protection from what?  What things could I possibly need protection from while implementing CRM.

If I am the Customer I want to ensure that I meet my deadlines on the schedule for the roll out of my software.  Managing the schedule for delivery will protect you from missing those deadlines.  I have a strict budget to adhere to, I cannot afford to go over budget.  Managing the budget will protect you from going over and spending more than you have allocated.  The quality of the system I am implementing must adhere to my standards and acceptance criteria.  Managing the quality of the system will protect you from a poor delivery.

Project Management is all about the Iron Triangle: Time, Cost and Quality.  These are the 3 constraints on any project — including a Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation.  If you are not constantly managing against these constraints, you are very likely to violate one or many of them and end up in a bad situation.

How does this protection take place?  This happens in a few ways.  For starters, at the beginning of any good project there is a Discovery phase whereby all the requirements and details are hashed out.  If a schedule and budget have been set at the beginning then the PM can simply balance the System Requirements gathered against the budget to see what can actually get done, for how much, and when.  A Project Manager will allow the customer to then make an informed decision on how to proceed and will manage against their guidance.  Also, with each phase and milestone accomplished, having you sign off on the deliverable ensures that you did in fact receive the quality you were expecting.

What if I am the vendor?  Does Project Management offer me protection too?

Of course it does.  Project Management will allow you to eliminate or minimize “Scope Creep” – all the stuff that gets asked for but is not actually in the contract.  It will also help to ensure quality against the contract. If the requirements are a deliverable and the customer signs off on them, then it is agreed upon that those requirements are what will be delivered.  This paper trail is important should a customer feel they were not given what they expected at the end of the project.  What about risks? Aren’t there always a bunch of risks that come up along the way?  Project Management can help mitigate those risks allowing a safe and expected project completion.  And let’s not forget how important Stakeholder Communication is throughout the life of the project.  This is crucial to any successful software implementation but it takes time, which of course takes money.  The protection it affords the vendor is the ability to do all the right things for the customer and not lose money for doing so.

So you can see that Project Management is an essential component to any CRM implementation.  The protection it gives both the vendor and customer is worth the time and money spent on this line item.  My advice: don’t implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM without it!

For more guidance about how to achieve success with your Dynamic CRM implementation, contact our experts at RSM 855-437-7202

by Chris Witham for RSM