A few weeks ago, we looked at the value of project management and how it can foster team spirit. We talked about the fact that implementing a Treasury Management System (TMS) is an important project for any business and that project management provides a tool to ensure the scope and objective of this project. Project management fosters leadership and “teamgeist” – team spirit. Corporates benefit firsthand from working with others, from their knowledge, from having everyone involved in setting up best practice structures, and defining work packages that meet everyone’s requirements.
The project management process
Ultimately, making use of project management during the implementation stage not only sets the right tone for a project but can provide corporates with how-to and process descriptions as well as comprehensive documentation. So what happens when you’ve implemented your TMS and set up the day-to-day processes?
Treasury implementation projects are not only focused on the tools being introduced, but also how to best implement them. In turn, this inevitably involves an assessment of the environment in which the system is going to be used: in order to provide support for how to make the most of a TMS, I need to know who is going to use it and how. Project management can help assess and potentially redefine the corresponding processes and workflows, and this doesn’t end with the actual implementation project. It makes sense to review processes before a system is introduced but it makes even more sense to review these very processes on a regular basis. This is where project management becomes long-term quality management, making sure your system and your workflows match the developments in your company.
The daily business
As BELLIN consultants, we don’t just disappear when the TMS has been implemented. We continue to provide assistance and guidance with both treasury and the TMS. At the same time, the treasury teams have gathered experience during the implementation. They have probably gotten to know processes in other departments and also in subsidiaries, and they have seen project management tools and methods that they can profit from in their everyday treasury business. This includes for example communication structures within the business, or resource planning and issue tracking. Project management is all about good practices – and this is also valid long beyond the implementation project in your day-to-day operations.
What goes for processes and workflows also applies to the people involved. In every implementation project you have project owners who are either responsible for the overall project or for specific aspects. They’re the main contact person, answer questions or collect feedback. They become real internal experts – and why not make the most of that once the implementation is completed. You can continue to use your experts, designate them as port of call for specific topics and put them in charge of process reviews. So whenever people wonder, “Wasn’t she the one who knew all about…” they’ll find that she still is!
What is important is that project management is not just done for documentation’s sake. It needs to provide real practical value if it is meant to have a long-lasting effect and make a permanent mark on how a treasury operates. For example, there’s really no need to provide a usage report if nothing has actually changed – it might even be distracting. The same applies to the day-to-day business where there is little value in passing data to other departments that they have no need for, or that are way too detailed for their intended purpose, just because “we have always done it that way”. Project management and any transferrable skills, methods or structures you take from it into your daily treasury work should always be pragmatic and never “enslave” treasurers by tying them to endless bureaucratic red tape. Take from it what really benefits your treasury and take the time to review your processes on a regular basis – remain flexible!
So does the end of your implementation project mean the end of your project management? Yes! But you have been provided with a host of documentation/information and more importantly transferrable skills. This will provide you with the ability of a sound assessment and review of your processes and structures that will have a permanent impact.