Collaboration is key for any major organisational project, but when it comes to optimising a risk-related technology, it is crucial that senior management, users, and project team members are all united in their approach. Eliminating misinterpretations or misunderstandings of business requirements is a task the risk manager cannot fail; working strategically with the right teams avoids this and leads to success.
So, how can you ensure such all-round understanding when evolving a risk system? Most projects benefit from executive level buy-in which requires clear communication and agreement with the executive leadership team about why a project is needed, what its aims and objectives are, and what a successful delivery will look like.
These elements also require broad agreement among the members of the team that are delivering a project. Including the final end users in such deliberations can also make project delivery more efficient and effective.
Agile working methods can work fantastically during system optimisation projects, though going fully Agile won’t suit everyone. Waterfall method tends to work better for traditional companies or those carrying out brand new implementations. Adopting some Agile methods, however, can boost any company’s approach to optimising risk systems.
At a recent Risk Leadership Network meeting, a member outlined how his company upgraded its SAP risk management technology and shared useful insight for those already at the optimisation stage of their software as well as those just beginning their journey with system selection.
The company used a very collaborative approach - here are three key areas where teamwork paid off for this particular project:
Before even starting the project, ensure alignment on the case for change and agree a set of objectives and outcomes with the leadership team and key business representatives. Everyone should be on the same page about why the project is needed and what successful delivery should look like. This is true whether you’re optimising an off-the-shelf system or if you’ve built a risk system or tool in-house.
Elevate and empower users by establishing a working group to finalise key decisions and project priorities. In this case, the members came from key user groups across the organisation, its assets and countries. This meant that first-line employees were already very familiar with the new technology even before it was rolled out to the wider organisation. However, it is important to ensure participants are willing and have the capacity to get involved - communicate how much time they will need to devote on top of their core job before they sign up to participate in any working group. You want contributors, not passengers, in this working group.
Rather than appointing a single point of authority, a blended project team can help to generate wider buy-in for the project and ensure clear communication of objectives and needs. For a technology-based project, such a team should include a business project manager and a technology project manager. The project team should spend time and effort clearly exploring and understanding the business requirements for the project - dig into the detail! This way, the technology team can avoid misinterpretation or misrepresentation of business requirements and its members will feel more involved in the development of the project, not just in delivering an end result.
When employees from throughout the organisation are involved in project development for key technology upgrades, rolling out a new system becomes much easier. Users are typically already aware of the change and have had time to get to grips with the new way of doing things. They can also filter this information in advance to their wider teams as well.
Being involved in design and delivery can also create a sense of ownership over the new system. Rolling it out - and smoothing over any bumps in the road - becomes much easier when key users already feel like it’s “their” system.