The Selection Committee

Selecting a software management system is a big undertaking for an association and each step of the decision making process should be given consideration – including creating the selection committee.
Selection committees are often ad hoc and may not know precisely what is expected of them. Are they just meant to gather information? Do they have the authority to make the final decision? Are they outlining the implementation process as well?  Outlining the committee objectives will ensure focused results. According to Project Smart the group should prepare a project definition and have it formally signed off by management.  The document should define: goals, objectives, timescale, and deliverables.
All serve the following purpose:
1.Clearly defines the objectives and scope of the project
2.Provides management and team members with a common view and clear understanding
3.Provides a good starting point for the subsequent definition of more detailed documents, for example the Project Plan, Project Budget and Functional Requirements Specification
We often consider the best person to lead the implementation of a new software product to be the IT specialist. However I would challenge you with this decision. Your IT specialist is essential to ensure the product will run within your environment. For example: Do you have the right hardware? Is your server adequate based on the number of users in your workplace? But do they know how you use the system? Do they know all that your system needs to functionally accomplish so you can serve your members?
So, who should be a part of the committee?
Ideally, it should be comprised of a wide variety of stakeholders including data entry personnel, membership managers, finance, IT, and management and between three to seven people. In addition to position, finding people with the right skills and commitment to task need to be considered.
Often the committee members don’t associate with each other on a daily basis and there may be a period of time where personalities need to learn to work with each other.  Difficult of ineffective personalities – be it the individuals usual style or perhaps one that only appears as a result of being on the committee – need to be addressed as quickly as possible.  Conflict often is a result of communication standstill or when a mis-communication occurs.
Shari Frisinger, communications expert, indicates personality traits to be aware of include the:
-Commanding driver – one is takes charge and makes decisions quickly without have all of the facts.
-Enthusiastic Adventures – they have strong egos and are focused on the goal. they are fast-paced and relentless
-High Energizers – can quickly become frustrated with others who do not match their pace
The committee is really a work unit designed to take the selection task and make it a manageable size.  Effective committees remove time consuming detail from the association while at the same time allowing more people from a spectrum of areas be involved. A good committee can not only help to select the right software for your association but it can also help strengthen it.
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