It can be the most critical aspect of a successful project—the project methodology. This is where the rubber meets the road—the critical process and actions by which an idea becomes a reality.
The project methodology is the plan and framework of processes that the team, led by the critical project managers, will efficiently advance a shared idea to reality. Project methodologies can range from a one-size-fits-all version that a software consultancy may use across all their projects, regardless of software type, to ones who utilize a methodology optimized for specific software (e.g., Salesforce) and other parameters (e.g., IT projects, cloud-based services). A well-tuned methodology can significantly reduce risk, help ensure a smooth-running project and maximize the project’s overall success.
See its influence early
A comprehensive and results-oriented project methodology used by a Salesforce partner should be visible early in your discussions and start delivering value in the pre-sales phase. Be sure the partner explains it upfront, includes it in detail in the scope-of-work (SOW), and provides the opportunity to meet and get to know the project manager who will oversee and manage the project execution—be wary of the partner who doesn’t take it seriously, even de-emphasizing its importance.
At RSM, we will often meet with the client and their team early to review our methodology and discuss the overall project preparation. It is important for our future client to know their role in the project, the upcoming process and what they can expect as the project progresses. Our goal is no surprises. Some of our clients are not familiar with software development, and many have never been engaged in a high-impact, fast-moving, cloud-based project. We document the process in detail in the statement of work and share it with the client as early as possible, setting expectations on timing and scope and reassuring them that our end goal is to set them up for success.
Planning for success
Building out the project plan is a key component of the methodology and charts the course to success. It sets expectations and helps ensure everyone is prepared to deliver their portion in the required order and timing. The engagement leaders should conduct a process with the client that includes as much upfront planning as possible, including aligning scope and expectations with a client’s budget/time constraints. All of this should be spelled out in the scope of work.
In approaching the project kick-off, expect resource or staffing managers to help ensure that the right resources are aligned to the project. During the sales process, it is reasonable to ask who the potential team members may be and how their background makes them well suited for your project.
A good project methodology will include components and best practices that help manage any risk in the project. There should be communication and transparency methods that will help monitor the project progress, highlight areas requiring attention and include a formal process for addressing potential issues that may arise. Look for checkpoints in the project methodology that ensure all stakeholders validate their view of the project and its success.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the industry-standard measurements that both Salesforce and the RSM Salesforce practice utilizes to systematically help ensure that all parties are in sync, and valuable feedback is flowing. At key milestones in the project, RSM will meet with project leadership to confirm the project is progressing as planned and gather feedback to identify any opportunities to optimize the remaining steps.
Be sure to ask potential partners to share their methods for mitigating risk and ensuring the project runs efficiently, coming in on time and on budget.
Trust in your partner
The most successful project methodologies treat the relationship as a partnership that grows strong. RSM works hard to earn your trust by proactively managing the project, not just taking orders, and continuously educating on approach. We never look at it as a vendor-client relationship but as a partnership where we “row together.” You should be confident in your partner and their dedication to earning your trust, not just expecting it.