How to Choose a PM Vendor for Software Updates

Our desktop computers, tablets and smartphones have spoiled us with automatic software upgrades. The typical smartphone can update and restart in less than 5 minutes. Desktop computers often update overnight, and we don’t even know it took place.

Business-critical software systems require painstaking planning and effort to manage updates for the benefit of the organization. Project sponsors will sometimes allow the vendor to drive the project, or they will task an internal employee with doing project management. That employee is rarely an experienced project manager.  Given the workforce challenges many organizations face in 2022, savvy project sponsors are looking outside the organization to source project management talent. On-demand project management – we call it Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) can improve project outcomes and make necessary system upgrades less disruptive and more beneficial for employees and customers.

Here are five characteristics to look for in a project management partner:

  1. Singular focus.
    Be sure the PM you’re working with will be dedicated to your project exclusively, so they have the necessary bandwidth as things ramp up.
  2. Experience with the software being updated and integrations.
    Experience with similar software can apply, but it won’t prepare for the project manager for the specific vendor’s processes, terms or testing tools. Ask about experience with the specific vendor you are using.  Mission-critical software often integrates with other software from other vendors. Look for knowledge of those ancillary vendors and their systems.
  3. Transparent, real-time tracking.
    Ask for dashboards, available all the time, updated in real time. This is the most reliable way for sponsors to feel confident in the project progress. Reports are helpful but not as informative — or as transparent — as live dashboards.
  4. Effective change management.
    Shepherding a project along a path to completion is the “mechanical” side of project management. The people side of project management is often overlooked or downplayed, when in reality,  it’s the most important part of long-term project success.  Change management requires connection with internal stakeholders to facilitate buy-in, and ideally creates internal allies and evangelists for the software and the problems it solves. Look for experience and proven success in developing allies.
  5. Continuity & Risk Mitigation.
    Ask how they manage resource constraints and turnover within their organization.  

If this seems impossible, it isn’t. Ask your software vendor if they know a project management consulting company that they would recommend.

Or, ask us. Schedule a chat with Missy Pitcher. She loves to talk strategy, risk and rewards related to project management.

BDM Squared has extensive experience with top-tier, mission-critical software vendors. Here are some of the most popular:  Cayenta, SilverBlaze, CBN, Microsoft Dynamics GP, SAP, IPort, Smartsheet, Eauthority, SAP SuccessFactors, Microsoft Dynamics 365, IBM Maximo, Avaya, and Blue Bison.

Are you thinking about tasking an internal employee with project management responsibilities? Here’s a quick quiz they can take to see how they will handle real-world project management challenges.  These questions zero in on the human-interaction side of project management. They can forward their results to you – with their comments — right from the quiz.

BDM Squared is a boutique management consulting firm providing project management and business process improvement on demand.  Our mission: help our clients deliver their projects on time and on budget every time. Our edge: real-time access to our constantly updated, comprehensive project dashboard. At any point in the project, know that you’ll have access to every detail – every document – every resource being managed for your benefit.