New information management (RIM) and information governance (IG) initiatives and projects mark excitement, innovation and sometimes feelings of uncertainty for a team. We all want the project to be successful but it’s often the unknowns that keep us up at night.
At Access, we’ve helped clients kick off projects ranging from traditional information management initiatives and digital transformation initiatives to retention management projects within M365, and consolidating all records management services nationally to a single vendor. And that’s just a few examples of the many projects we’ve supported in 2021! We pride ourselves on being a trusted partner for clients, providing expert guidance throughout the entire planning process.
With every new initiative or project, there’s a chance for success, and a chance for failure, but there are ways to increase your chance of success. The following are 5 realistic tips to kick off any RIM or IG project to help ensure best results.
1. Don’t reinvent the wheel
When working with a sizeable, wide-reaching project like a digital transformation initiative, developing a framework is one of the most important first steps. Rather than choosing to reinvent the wheel, your best course of action is to find examples of what other organizations have done. That way, you can see how others have navigated similar decisions and understand what their learnings were. This self-education is an easy step to adopt in the very nascent stages of a project, months ahead of a launch, that can certainly help you make better and faster decisions as the project starts and progresses.
2. Write it down
Wherever you start, your entire plan must be put in writing so you can ensure that you are following a process, procedure, charter, and so forth. For example, if you are undertaking any sort of project related to privacy compliance, you will want to show due diligence in case of an audit or if inquiries from regulators arise.
Having strong documentation, roadmaps, visuals, etc. is helpful in keeping pace throughout the project and communicating progress to those who are not directly involved in the planning phases. Additionally, utilizing Business Process Management can aid in making sure the process runs smoothly and can be improved over time, including identifying ways to streamline the process.
3. Define the scope
Likewise, you need to have a clear project scope and an end goal in mind. If you don’t define them early on, it creates challenges and could derail you off course. Scope creep can drastically widen the reality of your project and cause you to miss deadlines as well. Aligning on the project scope and end goal with your stakeholders is key.
And to reiterate, having the scope and end goal in writing ahead of time ensures you can revert to it if issues or questions arise to challenge it.
Continuous communication is key in ensuring everyone is unified in the approach and priorities for the project. Understanding who will need to be involved at the start and who will be involved later in the process is paramount to success. If you have a project planning committee, meet regularly to align on the scope and progress, utilizing the written materials you created at the start of the project. Don’t forget to prepare those who may not be active during planning but will be affected by the project later on.
5. Enlist the Experts
If you’re feeling overwhelmed in tackling a project, especially one that is new territory for you, don’t hesitate to ask for help. There may be experts within your own organization, a trade association, or with a partner like Access. The best way to ensure your project’s success is to enlist a team that has years of experience. Seasoned experts can help by weighing in on the scope, framework, and procedures you are proposing and offer tips and best practices to follow that streamline and expedite the process. This learning and assessment can be done independently through online research, attending educational webinars, or reaching out directly to an expert.
Get a head start by checking out this eBook: Integrated Information Management Roadmap, which provides practical guidance and considerations on how to approach an integrated information management strategy. It also includes a self-assessment with a checklist to analyze your current and desired future program goals.