The Importance of an Internal Project Manager

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.

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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