Projects and the Management of Change: You've Got a Friend In Me

Projects and the Management of Change: Part 3

You've Got a Friend In Me

When asked to describe my role as an Implementation Project Manager at Baker Hill, I tend to lean on various light-hearted descriptions. I’m a:

  • Professional cat herder
  • Overpaid babysitter
  • Underpaid therapist
  • Skilled “bugger”

However, I mainly like to think of myself as a cheerleader for both the Baker Hill team and the financial institution project team. It is my responsibility to be the liaison between both parties; I deliver the initial Baker Hill messages and properly escalate and communicate my clients’ questions and concerns internally. While a financial institution may work with different Baker Hill resources throughout a project’s life, your project manager should remain constant. Our goal is to serve as the guide and go-to person to ensure a successful implementation process and adoption of our software by your end users. To assist with this goal, project managers must rely on certain qualities and skills. Andrel Tiburca from Toggl Plan has identified 5 qualities that make a project manager successful and I completely agree that these can help lead to a successful implementation overall:

A successful project manager overcommunicates

In our first blog of this series, Jennifer Foraker touched base on the high importance of communication for business line project management. As the middleperson between both the Baker Hill and client teams, it’s important that project managers effectively communicate and relay information to ensure both sides are on the same page. Additionally, we want to make sure we are overcommunicating through all forms of interaction. Whether that’s leading a project status call, sending informational meeting recaps, or updating our internal project records, I try to provide as much information as possible in order to connect all of the dots for both teams.

Successful project managers know that they don’t know everything

I have now been at Baker Hill for almost three years. Even during the onboarding process when I first joined the company and was learning about my role, one of the first lessons I learned was that it was okay to say, “I’m not sure.” But what needs to follow that admittance is, “I’m not sure, but let me look into that for you.” Baker Hill is full of Subject Matter Experts who can best answer your questions if I don’t know them off the top of my head. So during a project kickoff call, when I’m meeting the financial institution project team for the first time and the PowerPoint slide pops up describing my responsibilities, I like to add, “I might not know the answers right away, but I know exactly who to put you in contact with to get you those answers.”

A successful project manager sees the bigger picture

I consider myself very process-driven. There are five phases to a Baker Hill implementation and our project managers really do view our projects through the lenses of these five segments: Pre-Build, Build, User Acceptance Testing, Production Rollout, and Project Closeout. We internally organize our project updates and internal process documents based on these phases. But, while we work through our implementations through the consideration of these separate stages, it helps us piece everything together and see the holistic view of a project.

A successful project manager makes compromises

With an implementation involving two teams, there is a need for balance and compromise. There can definitely be fluidity within Baker Hill’s five-phase implementation process. Throughout the project, Baker Hill can provide our expertise and best practice recommendations. However, we completely understand that every financial institution works differently. Compromising on processes and efforts can demonstrate the open-mindedness and trust between both teams.

A successful project manager triggers good performance

While the project manager might be the “conductor” of the operation, as Thelma Freeman alluded to in our second blog of this series, a successful project relies on the effort and collaboration of each project team member. Internally, I have a good idea of how different resources of the same role work best. While I would send a reminder email to one resource, I would need to “ping” another via Microsoft Teams to receive an answer to my question. I know I can schedule 8:30 a.m. meetings with one resource but would get my hand slapped if I scheduled a meeting any earlier than 10 a.m. with another. On the other side of the coin, I attempt to quickly gauge how the financial institution project team works best so I can adjust my approach when interacting with the client. While each team member will work differently and respond to different project management styles, we all have the shared goal of achieving a successful implementation.

Overall, Implementation Project Managers wear many hats. We are fluid, reliable, and may sometimes overcommunicate, but at the end of the day, we are here for you and for our internal project team. My job is designed to allow you and your financial institution to be successful and that begins with an implementation.


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