Every organization could use a leg up when it comes to development help and project management. But it’s difficult to find someone who can simply start helping right away. We’ve seen many of our clients solve this dilemma when they opt into the Dedicated Team program, which pairs them with developers who can be scaled up and down to meet project and development needs. These dedicated developers have expertise in association management software to add to the team without the hassle of recruitment or training.
Neat huh? Yeah, but this isn’t about us.
The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) is a member-based organization, located in St. Paul, Minnesota. For over a century, LMC has served its membership of more than 800 local cities, townships, and jurisdictions and now use a Dedicated Team to get more done. Here are some pearls of wisdom they learned along the way.
1. Image Is Everything
At LMC, the staff assumed the IT team had very little bandwidth to take feedback or to ask for help. Having spent a large amount of time and effort implementing their AMS, the staff got caught in the habit of keeping their questions and queries to themselves. Greg Van Wormer, Information Technology Director at LMC, explains, “Our end users assumed that we had limited bandwidth, therefore, they were very hesitant to make requests or share challenges they faced.”
When the LMC team brought four Dedicated Team developers on board, the staff were comfortable with asking the IT department for help again. And, even better, Van Wormer’s team had renewed bandwidth to be able to assist.
2. Every Mis-step Is an Opportunity
One of the core functions LMC had their new Dedicated Team complete was streamlining some data entry forms and work flows. Although this is something that had been accepted by staff as an inconvenient necessity, every issue can be turned into an opportunity.
With their new developers in place, LMC were able to streamline an issue they had had since implementation and staff rejoiced!
“We created a new business solution based on recommended best practices that enable us to streamline the data entry process for end users—this is a HUGE win for the team,” says Mike Witham, a system developer at LMC.
3. Streamline Streamline Streamline
Speaking of streamlining, your organization should be constantly striving to achieve best practices, which more often than not means a streamlined process. By analyzing your business processes and streamlining unnecessary steps, you’ll find great use of forms and processes by your staff. By making steps simple for the end user, you will find an uptake on completed records and lower user error.
4. Building a Team Takes Preparation
Augmenting your IT Team quickly with qualified staff can add instant value to your organization, but do not underestimate what preparations should be accommodated for. Each Dedicated Team is vetted to make sure there is a cultural fit between staff members and the host company. Without similar working styles and cultural alignment, the quick addition of extra staff members can be a challenge. LMC set expectations for its own staff, along with the new team that was hired in. Additionally, they made it clear what type of culture they had and what type of personalities would work best with their group. As Witham says, “They’re an extension of our team now and immediately fit in with the jovial, good-natured work culture we have in our department.”
5. Not Every Project Needs to Be Strategic
Some projects can be small and internal and still make a large impact on your association’s bottom line. For LMC, it was more important to heed the requests of their end users’ functional requirement than to build something for the executive team or even something member-facing. Your staff members are integral to moving the organization forware, their ability to get their job done simply and easily is actually strategic.
To learn more, check out the League of Minnesota Cities case study.