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No software implementation is perfect

I’ve written in the past about seeking success, and not perfection, in your data management systems. The same can be said for any implementation of a new association or content management system.

During the implementation of a new AMS or CMS, staff will become very excited about the potential that a new system brings. Users will have visions of automating mundane tasks, customers and members taking care of their own records, and being able to gather tons of marketing data. While all of this may occur, in my experience, it rarely occurs the way staff expects.

One of the project manager’s key responsibilities is to help manage user expectations. One key expectation to make clear from the start is that no implementation will go perfectly. No matter how many resources are thrown at the project, no matter how good the software is, there will always be hiccups. Something is not going to work the way we expect it to.

One suggestion I make to my clients is to establish five or six primary objectives that can be measured, in order to benchmark progress on the implementation. For example, if one of your key objectives is to allow for online meeting registration, set that as one of your benchmarks. If the implementation achieves this, then you’ve been successful on that mark, and you should be happy about that. Too often we focus on the few things that did not work during the implementation, rather than focusing on all of the objectives we did achieve.

Understand that no implementation can be perfect, but they can still be successful. Focus on and celebrate your successes.

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Testimonials

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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