Preparing your team for a CRM project

Dan Lockeretz, Purple Vision Project Delivery Director shares his experience of delivering CRM implementation projects – something he’s done quite a lot of in the years he’s been a Purple Vision, and even before that in his previous life charity-side.  This is the final entry in a 4 part series  from Dan explaining project delivery issues. 

Ready, set?  Let’s go

A CRM project isn’t something that will just magically happen, sadly.  It’s something that we, as your strategic partners, will work with you on.   We need your internal knowledge to deliver the end goal, and you need our knowledge and expertise to make it happen.

It’s a win-win situation and to make the most of it, a little preparation goes a long way.

How can you prepare and plan for your CRM project?

A key element is to identify and recruit to the project team Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) at the earliest point of the project.

SMEs would be expected not only to be experts in their current systems and processes but also to be experts in the new system going forward.  They’ll work with the Purple Vision project team (which will include your project manager and any resources we bring with us such as specialist developers, data experts etc.  The exact team will depend on your project.

The whole team will deliver the project together, and reports to the Project Board.  A key part of our initial discussions with you will outline overall project responsibility and who should be on the project board.

Let’s consider how your SME’s can help.

Some key tips on how to integrate SMEs into the development process are as follows:

  • Capture ‘user-stories’ from the SMEs early on in the project lifecycle. SME’s are the folks who use the systems we’re looking at day in, day out. They know what they need to do – and what they may not be able to do now that they will need to do.  User stories help us outline what success will look like for these day to day users.  We’ll explain more about all this at the relevant point.
  • The next phase of development is managed through the running of Sprints, ensuring each user story is built into the system. SMEs would work with the Development team at this stage to ensure the user stories are fully understood and interpreted correctly.
  • When we’re working with MVP (see It’s just a phase), we make sure that as soon as the base system is available, load it with sample data and share with SME. These guys – our users – will be rigorous in showing us what might be missing to make our concept turn into reality as early in the project as possible.
  • They’re gatekeepers to others using and adopting the system. Training is key to help SME’s not only work with the development team in configuring the system but in being ready to be an advocate for the system as others in the organisations start to ask questions and get involved.  A key part of this is User Acceptance Testing – the rigorous bit where teams are let loose with real case data to make it work.

Ahead of your project starting, consider who your subject matter experts may be and consider how to free up some of their time to engage in the project when it kicks off.  It need not been an arduous commitment but our experience is that it is easier to release staff to add these tasks to their to-do list if they’ve been considered ahead of time.

Read the full blog series: 

The CRM end goal

Dan Lockeretz, Purple Vision Project Delivery Director shares his experience of delivering CRM implementation projects – something he’s done quite a lot of in the years he’s been a Purple Vision, and even before that in his previous life charity-side.  This is the third and the final blog explaining project delivery issues.  

I hadn’t really considered how many sporting analogies there are in project delivery – scrums, sprints et al – and now I need to add one more.  The end goal.

It’s all very well to have an approach to implementing CRM and understand how your project is going to be phased and agree what it will deliver in those stages.

But how do you know the system is going to actually deliver what you want – your end goal?

What’s your CRM end goal?

The end goal, more often than not is not a single thing but a collection of results, such as:

  • improve processes – through new functionality
  • better integrate systems and data
  • gain maximum benefit from the capabilities provided by the system

The first priority – must have requirements

The first priority is to ensure all ‘Must Have’ requirements can be delivered in the system.  This, however, does not mean a process needs to be done in the same way as you had to deliver it in the legacy system.  Legacy systems and processes are often full of workarounds and ways to manage not-quite-perfect workflows and approaches.  Things are added and a process can expand to be quite cumbersome.  Often when we reflect on this with teams, we’re able to help them to look with fresh eyes at what they’re doing, how and why.

Our approach is, therefore, to understand what you (and your CRM) must achieve, but not necessarily focus on the area of how you achieve it.

When you’re looking at a completely new system, it would be easy to just carry on as before and very quickly you would find your shiny new system in the same state as your old and clunky legacy system.  Our switch to end goal focus helps us make sure the new system is set up for maximum efficiency and user-friendliness.

The second priority – should have and other requirements

Of course, when we looked at what the system must have, should have and won’t have, we prioritised the must haves and focus on these first.  But this same process of understanding what needs to be achieved can also be applied to all the other areas identified within the scope of the project after these essential must-have items are implemented.

Added value

Finally, and perhaps the most important stage in the project, is the stage to ensure the system is not just more efficient in terms of business processes, but that it also brings the added value.  This is the stage where we address the strategic aims of the project – which are arguably also fully or in part related to the strategic aims of the organisation and achieving areas of the business plan.

The focus in this final added-value stage is to re-assess the system, the processes, the data held, the use of the system and the skills of the users, to ensure the organisation is maximising the potential and power that the new system brings.

This is a phase that never ends, but the focus of our time is in developing an organisation’s own team to ensure plans are in place for appropriate support, training, consultancy, and ongoing project phases to leverage the power of CRM.

Can we help?

If you would like help and advice from Purple Vision regarding your CRM project, please call us via 0203 127 1249 or email us at [email protected] or via our online contact form.