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.

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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