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PMI - Banking Software Implementation by Andre Mahfouz

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Talking Points & Agenda:
Introduction
Reviving a dead project: a situational problem
Impact of weak or lack of Project Management skills
Managing virtual team complexity & challenges with commitment
Balancing between the lack of Knowledge & Experience gap
Dealing with operational culture vs. project management basics and effect on activities & tasks
Challenges in getting client’s approval on deliverables to complete milestones

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PMI - Banking Software Implementation by Andre Mahfouz

  1. 1. Banking Software Implementation: Challenges and Practices A real-world experience based upon completed projects - By Andre Mahfouz andremafouz andre_mahfouz
  2. 2. Before we start… • Let’s agree first on the fact that this is a grounded experience based on IT projects only, in the FinTech sector, and from vendor’s standpoint. • The practices (or suggested to be) used, are nothing but an application to the PM practices and mainly based on PMI PMBOK® among other PM skills, management / leadership skills, and, of course personal experience. • Glossary of some words (fr this slide deck): PM – Project Management PMg – Project Manager MBO – Management By Objectives EI – Emotional Intelligence MBWA - Management by Walking Around
  3. 3. Common issue: Impact of weak or lack of project Management skills Knowledge Issue: Swaying between the lack of Knowledge & Experience gap Managing virtual team complexity & challenges with commitment Dealing with operation culture vs. PM basics Challenges in Getting client’s approval on deliverables to close stages Q & A Is local & regional services industry different? Situational Problem: Reviving a dead project
  4. 4. Is local / regional services industry different from other countries / regions? • Why? • … … …. • Then, is managing projects in this region different than managing projects in the Europe (for example)? • … … ….
  5. 5. Is local / regional services industry different from other countries / regions? • Why? Volume of work Budget … • Then, is managing projects in this region different than managing projects in the Europe (for example)? Resources & Capacity (including people)  Cost high-sensitivity  risks… Dealing with ‘low-seriousness’ culture  consequences on the team spirit and productivity… “The unexpected success is an opportunity, but it makes demands. It demands to be taken seriously. It demands to be staffed with the ablest people available, rather than with whoever we can spare. It demands seriousnessand support on the part of management…” ― Peter F. Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  6. 6. Reviving a dead project a situational problem Challenges The project was in a situation where:  Deliverables were unfinished (not signed of course), some lost or remains unclear...  Lack of project management (both sides): knowledge – skills - commitment  Vendor credibility was in question  client is awaiting more failures  Requirements were still disputed  Business Politics in negative sense (individual agendas, conflicts of interest…) Suggested Practices Gather information, knowledge, statuses…  do not rely on single opinion (A good decision is based on knowledge – Plato) Re-baseline project deliverables; re-baseline project plan  “date” boundaries Gain first significant win (beside easy ones) and stick to the baseline  get buy-in Draw the line! Re-baseline requirements (old/new)  introduce change management Get rid of unhelpful people – from bank’s side, speak to higher management Don’t dsipute… but don’t let up!
  7. 7. Weak or lack of Project Management skills Challenges  Gap in Risk Management:  Root cause 1: lack of PM skills  risks identification & management  Root cause 2: parties tend to raise risks to point to other’s problem  Lack of Change Management  Root cause: unclear scope / vague requirements in SOW  General observation: cognitive bias of Halo effect in people management (if someone is a good technical person then we can promote him to be PMg!) Suggested Practice Give the project a name = identity ! Create the risk register for both parties ask the client to fill-in his part Use an example of a given risk badly managed (that turned into issue) to demonstrate the importance of risk management Spread smoothly PM (PMI) concepts and teaching Get the requirements detailed enough through clear analysis-design process and get signoffs – make it clear and in writing: changes lead to invoking change management procedure and … cost!
  8. 8. Managing virtual team complexity & challenges with commitment Challenges We’ve got big challenges with offshore teams (Product and Services)  They are either following their own projects (e.g. development) or have no linkage to client’s project timeline  Offshore teams do not report to PM (while they have deliverables for the project!)  PMg has no control on individual’s tasks and performance Suggested practices Share project schedule with all virtual teams and keep them up-to-date Share steering committee decisions on the go Establish a good relationship with them (stakeholders governance). Get them involved with direct remote calls – and commitments – with the client…  Ask for their regular status or progress report. Then monitor and compare… Communicate directly with offshore people and recognize their efforts
  9. 9. Knowledge Issue: Swaying between the lack of Knowledge & Experience gap Challenges  Resourcing is a main challenge to all projects; but a team with low or no experience in the implementation domain is a risk; in FinTech services, this is divided into 2 categories: 1. Banking knowledge and, 2. The software skills.  Lack of banking experience from bank’s side is just catastrophic! Suggested Practices Use lags and leads to train people progressively… Create a knowledge sharing area; promote structured KB creation  continuous improvement  daily learning  positive working environment… Turn the risk of fresh educated team and eagerness to learn into opportunity to improve productivity toward objectives achievement
  10. 10. Dealing with operation culture vs. PM basics and impact on various tasks Challenges Common / universal “dilemma”  Employees are usually time averse and used to time attendance  Operation is an ongoing function or work, while projects have, by definition, time boundaries – this is an issue driving the project thru specific timeline Suggested Practices  Our team: introduce MBO concept & educate them to work on this basis – find mutual advantages  Our team: use EI skills to deal with people (not employees!); improve by using MBWA (direct & continuous talk)  motivation…  Client’s team: the education is harder and will take more time but it happens: pushing the team to stick to deadlines… and then the nearer to go-live the more people are convinced about working on objective basis – not attendance.
  11. 11. Getting client’s approval on deliverables to close stages and consequences on project closure Challenges  People are generally reluctant to sign off deliverables (responsibility = accountability!)  Approving deliverables / stage / milestone would mean paying bills…  Then: If we cannot close a stage and get deliverables approved therefore we cannot close the project Suggested Practices Avoid any project document that has one side/party benefit… Link the approval (signoff) to an advantage to the client i.e. let the signoff be a mutual benefit for both parties If you can stipulate an expiry clause for approval (in the contract) after which the deliverable is considered approved – that would be a good lesson learnt for future projects…
  12. 12. Q & A to recap Thank You!

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