Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Team of Rivals

I really enjoyed reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, a Team of Rivals. In it, she describes how President Lincoln brought his rivals for the election of 1860 together into his cabinet.  All of them turned out to be essential during his first years in office. Similarly, I have found that bringing together the enterprise and consulting staff is a key element in creating success in any organization’s Identity Management project.

Application Owners, Architects, Business Analysts, Database Administrators, Engineers, Executive Sponsors, Project Managers, System Administrators and Testers are among the many different types of people that we expect to see on an Identity Management project.  While these people are not necessarily rivals in Kearns' sense, they definitely represent many different aspects of a companies business, technical and operational viewpoints.  However that is only one dimension of the project team. The other dimension involves technical skill sets.

Having the proper balance of technical skills is just as important a component of the project. Coders, Database specialists, ERP system experts and other Subject Matter Experts (SME) are critical to project success.

One of the nice things about SMEs is that they usually do not have to be allocated to the project on a full time basis, rather server as “on call” resources to help out with specific parts of the project. While members of the technical staff are cross trained (and rather well in my client facing experience) it’s tough to have complete knowledge of multiple enterprise systems. The local system SMEs are a required part of any successful project implementation and substantially lowers the risk inherent in any enterprise project..  Bringing this "Team of Rivals" together brings about a synergy which results in exceptional project effectiveness.
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