Flexibility is the Key to Implementation Success

I’ve written in the past that the key to a successful new AMS is not in the AMS you choose, but in how the AMS is implemented. While there are many keys to a successful implementation, here are three that are absolutely vital, in order to have the most successful implementation possible.

  1. Be willing to change how you do things – This one is absolutely critical. Every off-the-shelf AMS system has been designed with what the developers believe to be best practices for any given functional area.For example, every AMS has a general process for accepting membership joins/applications online. Work with your selected vendor to understand what their base system does, and see if you can adapt your current process to leverage how the software has been designed. Maybe it won’t be exactly like you do it now, and it’s even possible it requires you to do work you didn’t previously do (while saving you time/effort in other areas). But hopefully this change in process and trade-offs in work will lead to more efficient and effective use of the system. Which leads us to point #2:
  2. Be willing to accept less than perfect solutions – As I noted above, I can assure you that trade-offs on how you do certain things are going to be required. And it’s also possible that these trade-offs mean the system won’t work “perfectly” for you. But that’s ok, assuming you’re gaining some advantage elsewhere. The reality is, there is no perfect AMS (if there was, I’d own it and be rich!). So perfect is unattainable. What you’re looking for is improvement over what you have and ultimately, success with what you’re doing. So don’t let perfect become the enemy of good.
  3. Admit that you will make mistakes – Just like there is no perfect solution, there is no perfect answer for the many questions you will face during implementation. And one of the realities of any implementation is that you’re dealing with imperfect information. Which means you’ll make decisions based on the best information you have, at that time.Later on, with more information, you may find that the decisions you made were not the best decisions. And that’s ok. In most cases, almost every decision you make will not be set in stone; that is, most decisions are reversible or alterable. So it’s best not to beat yourself up over the “mistake” you made, but rather say “Now that we have more information, we can make a better decision.” Mistakes will happen; acknowledge that at the beginning of the implementation, and you’ll be better of in the long run.

It’s all about flexibility.

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