I was meeting with a potential client recently, discussing their need for a new association management system. During the conversation we talked about the services I would provide and the responsibilities they would have. One thing I emphasized to them was the importance of having an internal project manager.
Frequently associations (especially smaller ones) want to "outsource" the management of an AMS implementation to a consultant, or worse yet, to the AMS vendor. In this case, I think outsourcing is actually an abdication of responsibilities. Sure, there are project management services I can provide, but my most successful clients have always had someone inside who was responsible for managing the project from the staff perspective, in addition to my services. The simple fact is that there are some things an insider can get done that an outsider can't.
And keep in mind that project management, especially for implementation of a new AMS, is not something you add to someone's already full plate. If you want them to be the project manager, then you need to remove other responsibilities for the duration of the project. And you should expect that a minimum of 50% (yes, HALF) of their time will be spent on managing the AMS implementation. For larger implementations that could run to 80-100% of their time.
I can't overstate it: Those associations that have a dedicated project manager on staff are far more likely to succeed with their implementation than those who add it to someone's already full plate or expect the AMS vendor to do it for them.
“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.”
“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.”
Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
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