Who will make the trains run on-time? In the case of policy consolidation the answer is the project manager. While most initiatives benefit from disciplined project management, it is particularly critical for policy consolidation efforts as articulated in Policy Consolidation: Seven Critical Success Factors.
Policy consolidation is complex because it involves multiple work streams. Each work stream will work on a separate portion of the policy simultaneously. Because all of the internal resources, including functional support groups and subject matter experts (SMEs), still have their normal duties and responsibilities, participation and timing must be meticulously coordinated.
A project manager will understand the process and will enable efficient replication in all work streams. Committing to a project manager, whether staff or contractor, further demonstrates the leadership support that is critical to success.
A dedicated and effective project manager will:
- stagger work stream activities so that the common resources (e.g. legal, communications, executives, etc.) are not bombarded with to-do’s but rather have a feasible amount of time to accomplish their tasks.
- expedite the process by participating in work stream activities, sharing lessons learned and providing early identification of risks.
- maintain version control of drafted policy sections and an up-to-date library of project artifacts.
- ensure that style and language guidelines are adhered to.
- maximize participants’ time by following the defined process, communicating next steps and the roles and responsibilities for each team member.
- coordinate stakeholder participation and encourage progress by communicating milestones achieved.
The project manager should spend time communicating with project stakeholders, helping them step back from the details of the policy and understand the vision of consolidation and how it will be achieved.
Importantly, the project manager plays the role of time keeper accurately predicting, reporting, and communicating goal time frames. If slippage occurs, the project manager can help keep things moving by prioritizing required activities with the team and providing best practices for completing tasks. As multiple tasks occur across various process steps, a project manager can accelerate the overall progress of the policy consolidation initiative and make the trains run on-time.