RO Systems Consulting, Inc.

Relationship Management

Relationship Management at RO Systems Consulting is a part of our Putting Customers First program, which requires that all Wright Consultants focus on ensuring that we meet and exceed customer expectations on every project we perform. Good relationships are built on well-defined roles and responsibilities, clear expectations, and effective communication. RO Systems Consulting's project management approach provides a structure and procedures that support the process of building and maintaining important relationships.

Well-Defined Roles and Responsibilities

One of the best ways to build a high-performance project team is to require that RO Systems Consulting project staff and customer staff work together toward common deliverable goals. We firmly believe that to achieve maximum success, we must combine our industry experience, systems development knowledge, and consulting expertise with our customers' understanding of their organizational environment and business problems. We have found that integrated project teams provide the foundation for building trust and promoting open, timely communication. In this way, team members support each other in day-to-day activities, make decisions quickly, and readily share knowledge.

As an important task when each project begins, RO Systems Consulting works with customer stakeholders to refine the organizational structure, define roles and responsibilities, and identify specific team members. At the team level, a significant amount of authority is given to the team leaders to implement the roles and responsibilities for each team. This significantly increases the pace of the project. The leader of each team works individually with the members on the team to define individual responsibilities. With each person taking accountability for his or her work, we maintain a high level of overall team productivity.

To support the roles and responsibilities definition process, RO Systems Consulting uses a proven technique that aims at clarifying role relationships as a means of reducing ambiguity, wasted energy, and adverse emotional reactions. This technique is known as Responsibility Charting, which clarifies and baselines the roles and responsibilities for the project in the form of a Responsibility, Approval, Consult, and Inform (RACI) matrix.

Shared Expectations

Successful system development projects must begin with an understanding of the underlying business objectives and constraints, rather than a lost of individual system requirements. Although they may change over time, possibly as a result of the design process itself, these business objectives and constraints act as the foundation for the system design because they provide a context for making informed decisions. When business objectives drive the design and development process, all aspects of the system contribute to achieving the ultimate business purpose.

All those working on the project must understand the business objectives and the resulting expectations that must be satisfied in order to achieve a successful outcome. These invariably include completing the project on schedule and within budget and complying with the contract. However, other expectations may not be so well understood or formally documented. In addition to those defined in the contract and other documents such as the RFP, some expectations may be implied in correspondence, meetings, and discussions. The less formally expectations are stated, the less likely they are to be addressed by the project or the more likely they are to actually conflict with expectations of other stakeholders.

Early in the project, RO Systems Consulting works with customers to surface these unspoken or informal expectations and make them concrete. Sometimes this results in change requests, to change the agreed scope or deliverables. Often, it is a matter of clarifying existing scope. Once included in the project management plan, progress against them may be monitored and reported, so that the delivery of customer expectations is effectively managed.

Effective Communication

RO Systems Consulting recognizes that ongoing clear communication at all levels of an organization is an important key to success. Maintaining clear and open communication within the management team and among project teams is a critical part of RO Systems Consulting's overall management philosophy.

RO Systems Consulting strives to ensure that each person involved in the project has the information needed to perform his or her role. It is also very important that customer staff members feel that they are being kept up-to-date and that the exchange of information is two-way. Timely and open communication throughout the project contributes to its success. Our approach is to combine both written and verbal communication within the project team, as well as outside the team, to ensure the early identification and resolution of issues.

The methods we use to facilitate this exchange of information take two forms: written, such as regular status reports and electronic mail messages, and verbal, such as regular status meetings or periodic project walkthroughs. We use written status reports and other more formal channels to communicate with key project stakeholders that are not assigned to full-time roles on the project. The informal channels that we cultivate will ensure project team members are knowledgeable about project status, issues, results of walkthroughs, and so on.

Project Communication Channels
  Written Verbal
Formal Project Plans Weekly Status Reports Monthly Status Reports Meeting Minutes QA Review Reports Leadership Team Briefings Weekly Management Meetings Monthly Management Meetings Design Reviews Training Sessions Ad Hoc Meetings
Informal Electronic Mail Project/Program Newsletter Team Meetings Team Leader Meetings Project All-Hands Meetings Brown-Bag Sessions

RO Systems Consulting has found that defining communication patterns at the beginning of a project results in effective and efficient communication. During project start-up, a matrix of written and verbal, formal and informal communications will be defined to ensure full and open communication. Tools and standards for communications are also documented during the project start-up phase. Formal reporting tools will be selected and documented from RO Systems Consulting Project in a Box.

During the project start-up phase, a formal meeting cycle will be developed to ensure that meetings are timed properly and that inefficiencies and redundancies are reduced or eliminated. The cycle specifications will cover timing, participants, objectives, documentation, distribution of minutes, and so on.