How to Assemble Your Implementation “Dream Team”

We all remember the Dream Team. You know, the US Men’s basketball team from the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona? What some sport journalists claimed was the best team of athletes ever assembled? Alright, well if you lived under a rock during the early 90’s – or better yet, weren’t born – I’ll frame it up for you.

Who was the Dream Team?

The US “Dream Team” featured the first active NBA players permitted to participate in the Olympics. I’m talking about the GREATS – Michael “Air” Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird – need I say more? They ultimately won the Gold medal after defeating Croatia in the final game, and beating every other competitor faced by an average of 44 points per game along the way.

What made the Dream Team so great? Well the obvious answer is that the team was comprised of basketball’s finest. But dig deeper, and there is more to it. They all had their own unique set of strengths, but they integrated seamlessly into an example of teamwork at its best. Jordan and Barkley’s legendary shooting skills, Pip’s determined defense, Magic’s point guard prowess and charismatic personality that motivated the team to play even better. Each player brought something to the table, checked their stardom and ego at the door, and worked together.

So where am I going with this? As you prepare to embark on your implementation journey, you too have the chance to create a Dream Team. A successful implementation requires time and dedication not only from the vendor implementing your solution, but also a collaborative team effort from your organization’s resources. Thus, thought and consideration should go into assembling that internal implementation team.

The list below is by no means a one-size fits all solution. Every organization is different in size and scope, and every project has its unique set of needs to consider. Important thing is that you have diverse representation as it relates to experience, specialization, and function. Equally important, ensure that you are assembling a group of proven team players. Every member should want to be there, everyone should want the implementation to succeed (preferably on-time and on-budget), and everyone should have some skin in the game.

Your Implementation Line-up

Executive Project Sponsor

An executive sponsor usually provides guidance on the direction of the project, can facilitate budgetary or other political matters, and has ultimate responsibility for the project’s success. They also can help communicate to the broader organization related to the importance of the initiative and its success.

Business Project Lead

The business project lead has consistent involvement in the project, plays a role in shaping the solution and guidance for business requirements, and usually helps identify and coordinate internal business resources needed on the project.

Project Manager

The project manager manages the day-to-day activities of the implementation, produces and ensures delivery project milestones and timeline, ensures adherence to budget, documents and mitigates risks – and MUCH MORE!

IT and Technical Resources

Technical resources are critical to providing expertise related to the organization’s IT infrastructure, and understanding how the new solution will actually work within their network. These resources may also have to work closely with the vendor’s implementation team to execute tasks during the implementation to prepare for the new solution.

Change Management resource

Change management is a critical component to an implementation’s success. A dedicated change management resource can conduct a thorough change impact analysis, create and disseminate project communications to drive engagement, and play a role in end-user training.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

Depending on the project type, necessary SMEs may vary. Common important SMEs to engage for contact center implementations include supervisors, agents, and quality and workforce management resources. SMEs represent a cross-section of the people whose daily activities will actually change because of the implementation. For optimal success, engage SMEs early. Don’t wait until UAT or training to bring them into the fold. By that point, your solution is almost “baked” and it can be harder to make the requested changes. Invite your SMEs to participate in the business requirements gathering process rather than just relying on second hand knowledge of the current processes and pain points.

Other Functions (as necessary)

This may seem obvious, but many organizations operate in silos, and don’t communicate until changes are already executed. Are you going to change your IVR messaging? Your email campaign mechanism? It is always best to engage marketing during your development process to ensure that the planned changes compliment the desired brand and customer experience, and to ensure that you aren’t duplicating any efforts as it relates to mailers, email blasts, customer surveys, and other marketing efforts already have underway. Depending on the project scope, it often makes sense to involve finance, operations, and HR as well.