Spring cleaning time is a great time to re-evaluate your policyIQ implementation. You might look for ways to make it even more efficient or expand it to new areas of your business. Changes might be small, like updating the Group structure to more accurately reflect your current organizational structure. Some companies might even choose to make big changes, establishing a project team to review, rewrite, create and organize policies, procedures, safety documentation or complete risk management documentation across the entire business.
At the beginning of last year, Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA), one of the largest providers of specialty surgical services, took on the project of completely revamping their policyIQ site. They had been spun out the year before and had maintained the policyIQ structure of their former parent company. However, as they grew into their own independent organization, that structure and the policies and procedures that had been documented were no longer effective for the new organization.
Enter Donna McLean. At the time, Donna was a consultant with Resources Global Professionals with a background in policy writing and process optimization. Donna was brought on board as a consultant to head up the project to update policies and procedures and to put a sustainable process in place for keeping documentation centralized and up to date. Donna used the opportunity to also upgrade policyIQ to version 6 and configure the software to support their efforts. Donna has since taken a full-time position with SCA as the Manager of Policy Optimization, Assurance and Process Improvement.
We asked Ms. McLean to share with us the secrets to the success of SCA’s project, where they have successfully completed phase 1 and have moved on to phase 2, which will involve more optimization and process automation in policyIQ. Donna responded with 8 great pieces of advice on how to successfully manage a policyIQ reimplementation project. These tips are a great mix of the soft skills of project management, and the details of a successful policyIQ configuration.
1. Planning. Planning. Planning, planning, planning.
“I can’t say that enough,” explains Donna as she gives us her number one recommendation. We agree! Any project should be planned out in advance, with a written project plan available to all members of the project team. Make sure you have clearly communicated the goal of the “re-vamp project”, set reasonable deadlines for your team members and taken into account their other responsibilities.
Planning is also important for your policyIQ configuration steps. Plan out the changes and consider what effects the changes will have on the users, other administrators or other departments who might also be using policyIQ. Contact those stakeholders and review your changes to be sure that you’ve planned for all of the impacts. And don’t hesitate to call on the policyIQ team to help you to plan out the steps and evaluate the impacts.
2. Get buy-in at the highest levels
The larger the project, the higher you should go to be sure you have buy-in. You will need the support of your management team to help set priorities for team members and to put their weight behind the changes in the end product. If you are implementing changes for your Accounting Policy Manual, make sure your Accounting Manager is on board. If you are revamping your site that holds all Corporate Policies and Procedures across multiple locations, your executive committee should be on board and encouraging the process.
Ask your executive or management sponsor to help create the “tone at the top” by sending out a message early in the project to all stakeholders about the importance and the ultimate goal for the changes.
3. Write a policy on writing policies!
Whether it’s policies, controls, audit workpapers or your safety manual, you should start off by having a written policy (or at least a written guideline) for how that documentation should be written. Consistent documentation will be much easier for your audience to follow – so let your writing team know what that looks like. Remember, you want your site to be sustainable for years to come; be sure to write down that policy or guideline (and make sure it is in policyIQ) so that it is accessible for any future contributors.
The team at Surgical Care Affiliates has graciously agreed to provide an example of this to other policyIQ clients who might be interested. Leave a comment orand we’ll be sure that you receive the benefit of SCA’s starting point!
4. Know your team – understand team dynamics and leverage the skills of each team member
You may have one really great writer who is terrible at making sure she’s covered all of the details. But another team member is always focused on the details, and makes a great editor. Your team members won’t all have the same skills. In fact, you don’t want them to! But as a project manager, you will want to know your team’s skills and distribute tasks to take advantage of them.
You will also need to know a little bit about team dynamics. Putting several type A personalities together to perform a single task might not be the best idea. Split them up and let those strong personalities drive different initiatives.
5. Start with sound Templates
This is one of those practical pieces of advice related to your policyIQ configuration. If you start with Templates that are complete, with fields that are well thought out and make sense to all participants, your writers will have an easier time posting their documentation. Ultimately, your audience will have a much easier time digesting that information, too!
When you’re planning out your Templates (yes, it always comes back to planning), think about your audience. What details are important to pull out? Do you need to have a short “Policy Overview” at the top that gives a two sentence explanation of the policy, with a longer “Policy Details” field below? Consider what your audience will want to report on. If you are documenting Action Plans, what dates will be critical in reporting? What status updates will be necessary?
6. Don’t forget to include training!
You have the very best, most intuitive policyIQ site that ever existed, so you’ve decided that no one needs training. It’s SO easy. Well, we agree that policyIQ is intuitive and your viewers certainly don’t need to sit at their desks or in a room through hours of policyIQ training. But your users do need to know what documentation exists in policyIQ. Where can they go if they have questions about the content? What happens if they forget their password? Why did we make changes? Why should they care about the information in policyIQ? They might not need training on policyIQ, but you do want to make sure you launch your new site with information on its relevancy to your audience. Consider:
- An email announcement written by your project team, but sent from your executive sponsor!
- Informational (and inspirational!) text on your log-on screen or on the Read-Only Dashboard. (Text for both is editable from Setup –> System Setup –> Site Style.)
Check out this example of great Read-Only Dashboard text from SCA:
- Printed announcements posted in those public areas like near the printers or in your office kitchen.
- Ask department managers to add an agenda item to the next departmental meeting and have a member of the project team attend to give a brief overview.
- Snacks! Everyone responds to snacks. Host an informational session in a conference room and provide cookies.
7. Coach. Coax. Repeat.
Donna found that “a little of both is necessary” when managing a large project. Some team members will be enthusiastic participants, while others will need to be convinced that their input is necessary, valuable – and that their timely completion is not so much a request as a requirement. Be a mentor to some, a humble requestor to others and a task master to a few.
8. Monitor your plan!
You put all that time into your project plan – so use it! Monitor tasks and follow-up with those responsible to be sure that items are being completed on time. If something is behind, find out the root cause of the delay and try to help move things along. And remember that your project plan isn’t written in stone – you’ll likely need to shift both deadlines and resources several times throughout the process.
These project management tips can be applied to a policyIQ project – or to any project that you find yourself spearheading. If you are looking to re-implement policyIQ, we’d like to help! Contact our support team or call your account manager to talk about how we can partner with you through this process.
And if you find that you have a project that really needs your full attention, but you just don’t have the people internally to spare – give us a call. We’ll put you in touch with your local Resources Global Professionals office and help you find an experienced professional to supplement your team.