Implementing CRM Using Agile Approaches

PMI Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

This article provides some suggestions for incorporating agile concepts when implementing customer relationship management systems. It is based on my experiences on three CRM implementation projects. The first two implementations we tried to use all (or as many) of the agile principles, values and practices we could with varying degrees of success. The third—a new membership system for a large auto support group—took more of a hybrid, cherry-picking approach.

The Realities of Implementing a Package Solution
First let’s start by recapping some of the characteristics of a CRM system. They are typically provided by vendors who develop a generic, configurable product. They are sold based on the benefits of being already developed, tested and in successful use, which means companies implementing them will save on all these development costs. They also come with support, maintenance and upgrade strategies so organizations don’t have to be in the software development and support game forever. These benefits and claims are kind of true…well, true at a high-level, and then things get blurry when you dig deeper and live the experience.

Generic, configurable solutions can provide a great leg up over custom development. However, they will need to be configured and tailored for each customer. Some business rules will go beyond what can be achieved …

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