CHERYL GROSS & ASSOCIATES
to the Financial Industry
36 Bromfield Street, Suite 306
Cheryl Gross, PMP, President
Project Management — A Tool for Providing Exceptional Service
Our goal as Community Financial Services Professionals is to provide exceptional products and services to our customers via the customer selected delivery channel. Our challenges are:
When we work with clients who have more projects than resources required for delivery, we generally hear one of four questions:
By way of answering these questions, let’s talk about four ideas:
Project Management -
Cloning Your “Go To” Person
Let’s define Project Management. Project Management is a discipline that utilizes strategies, processes and methods to complete unique assignments quickly while employing a minimum of resources. The methods employed are designed to deliver a fully documented, risk-mitigated, on time and on budget project.
Most of us know when we need something done today and done correctly; we find the busiest person and ask them to get it done. Every one of you can name your “Go To” Person. It works, but why? We think it’s because they are generally focused, organized and goal directed. The limiting factor in completing projects is that individual’s time. Consider ways that you might be able to leverage your “Go To” Person’s time through processes and tools.
One of the primary tools of Project Management is the project plan. The project plan summarizes the unique tasks that are required to complete the deliverables. The tasks are manageable, measurable and discrete. In addition, the project plan identifies the responsible individuals, the sequence of events and the timeline for completion. As a result, literally anyone can pick up the project plan and know exactly what must be accomplished next. Eureka, you’ve just cloned your “Go To” Person. Not that your “Go To” Person is no longer valuable, but you now have the means to expand that resource by having them oversee the plan while assigning lower level or less skilled people to the individual tasks. The benefits to the organization are:
Your organization does all of these things and has for years. The issue is that the rules are not written down, and as a result it is very difficult to demonstrate that the rules have been applied and were applied across the board. Sound familiar?
Implementing a Project Office
Many of you use Project Management tools on a regular basis and may be wondering how you might be able to gain more efficiency. The next step is to establish a Project Office.
The purpose of a Project Office is to provide the vehicle for managing multiple complex interrelated projects across the organization. The objectives are to:
When establishing a Project Office you may wish to consider the following:
The Project Office becomes a viable management tool when you consistently have sufficient projects in the pipeline to justify a full time management focus. Consider phasing in the following types of projects:
Leverage all projects by standardizing and designing templates to support common project requirements such as:
Cheryl Gross & Associates was founded in 1994; our goal is to partner with our clients to create economic value and sustainable productivity gains by providing outstanding project management expertise, leveraging internal resources and offering objective perspective. We create value by providing senior focus and organization to strategic, financially significant opportunities. We deliver challenging assignments that pay for themselves by being accelerated.
Our President, Cheryl Gross, is a financial services professional with over 25 years experience in retail banking, private banking, residential and consumer lending.
Ms. Gross has served in positions with Boston Five Cents Savings Bank, Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company and Household International.Ms. Gross holds a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Babson College, Wellesley, Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Science from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.
Would you prefer to receive The Nib via e-mail?
Please call (617) 426-3701
or send your e-mail address to:
Lifecycle of a Project
When you look at a project, whether it’s work or leisure related, the project has a lifecycle with a logical beginning and ending. So, as you think about this section, we’d encourage you to put on your tool belt and think of this as a Habitat for Humanity project. The key elements are:
Leveraging Vendor Management with Project Management -
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to comply with Vendor Management requirements. The FFIEC is merely suggesting that you design your own processes or utilize existing Project Management methodology to satisfy the requirements.
When you look at the essence of FFIEC’s Vendor Management guidance, you are asked to develop a program that supports Service Provider Selection and Ongoing Service Provider Monitoring while mitigating the risk to the organization. The Service Provider Selection requirement (The NIB: FFIEC Guidance on Vendor Management – Is There A Common Sense Approach?) components are:
The first thing you’ll notice is that our definition of Project Management sounds a lot like the Vendor Management requirements. Now, compare the Project Management methodology (click to open in new window) and you’ll notice that all of the elements required as part of a Vendor Management program are included in a typical Project Management template.
Many of you have told me that you’ve bought templates in the past and then struggled with customizing them to meet your organization’s needs. The next time you are faced with the prospect of selecting a major service provider, consider engaging a project manager. Our experience tells us that the Project Manager will use all the tools you’ll need to satisfy the Vendor Management requirements, and you’ll be able to leverage a project that you’d be doing anyway to fulfill a FFIEC requirement.
Message from our President
The focus of this issue is Project Management.
As Senior Managers, most of us view projects from the 50,000-foot level. There may be ten elements to the project, and our “Go To” person always seems to get it done. What’s the big deal?
“Go To” people are rare institutional treasures. They instinctively know how to organize, schedule and deliver a project. Not everyone has that gift.In my view, Project Management is a skill that can be taught and, conversely, learned. Once taught it’s a skill that can leverage your organization’s ability to innovate. And, innovation is first and foremost a competitive advantage.
I hope you’ve found this newsletter interesting and informative. Your comments are always welcome.
© Cheryl Gross & Associates. All rights reserved.