The Importance of Good Project Management

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CCi was founded in 1972, which means we have over 45 years of experience when it comes to on-boarding new customers. We must be perfect at it, right? Well, not really. We have always tried to do our very best, and yet we realize that a company that takes customer satisfaction seriously must always look for ways to improve the process of bringing a new customer live with their services.

ALWAYS.

We recently reviewed our current processes and realized it was time for another overhaul. We found that some of them had become disjointed, lacked proper documentation, or were generating more questions than they should due to a lack of intuitiveness. It was determined that “Project Management” would be the means of discovering, documenting and eliminating these and other inefficiencies inherent to the process.

But, Project Management (PM) is a broad term, and many methodologies in use today are too over-developed for our use. We don’t have, for example, the rigorous requirements of a large banking system, whose PM complexities would only slow us down. This is partly because of the unique integration we have inside many of today’s top EHR systems, which has always simplified our customer implementations.

So, we designed and implemented a custom PM system fit for our purposes. We took the usual methodologies and stripped out the portions that were not absolutely needed, while retaining fundamental PM standards. If a task did not contribute to the success of a CCi Customer On-boarding Project it was not included. The result of this process was the creation of new methods that better met our customers’ needs.

A few of the new opportunities for improvement that came to light were:

  • While “adding a new customer” might seem like a singular thing, we had several different processes in place depending on the EHR or HCIS system that the hospital was using. It quickly became clear that these implementations followed the same steps, and we saw the opportunity for consolidation. We created a schedule template for NEW or CONVERTING customers which included all potential tasks, along with durations and assignments by role. Now, all a Project Manager must do is open the template, change the start date and project name, and they’re good to go!
  • Gathering Business Requirements for new customers was greatly improved. The original list of requirements was quite short and we soon learned that most of the requirements were not included, but were addressed by the development team coming back for more information.  We created a new Requirements template that has all the possible requirements identified, and now they’re all captured the first time.
  • The Project Management Plan and Communications Plan were rolled into the Implementation Plan because of identified redundancies. The template is completed in two passes: The Business portion is completed during the Planning phase, while the Pre-Implementation/Implementation/Post-Implementation portion are completed by IT during development.  The result is a document with all the information that a team would need for a successful roll-out.
  • More specific and relevant Test Plans and Cases are prepared during development. This has allowed us to place an even greater emphasis on testing prior to Go-Live.

These improvements have allowed us to greatly reduce implementation time and ensure that all the information needed is captured, documented and reviewed in the most efficient manner possible.  We can now set up the Project Name and Number, Folder, Schedule, and Implementation Plan in a few hours where before it would take days to accomplish. 

The implementation schedule gives our customers a solid expectation of what’s happening and when. This helps them better manage their resources and the variety of revenue cycle processes for which they are responsible. The consolidated Business Requirements gives customers a more detailed view of what’s needed to drive success in the implementation and enforces greater accountability by all parties involved. And finally, our ability to draft and share the schedule and plan documents with such speed further supports two of the CCi's business tenets:  to affect change rapidly and to deliver a positive ROI sooner than any in the market.

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