MReport November 2019

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M R EP O RT | 21 SPONSORED CONTENT Balancing Tech and Business Change initiatives are difficult; even more so when you are trying to enhance your IT infrastructure. By Jonnine Eras C hange initiatives are diffi- cult; even more so when you are trying to en- hance your IT infrastruc- ture. When a company decides to implement new technology, it often relies on subject matter experts (SMEs) within the company. Their role is to help the company deter- mine how to successfully imple- ment technology while ensuring the quality of service does not suffer. The following are three tips to consider when embarking on such a project: Identify or appoint your team: Make sure the right SMEs, the correct project managers, and other technology resources are in place. Select individuals who are orga- nized, great communicators, and knowledgeable not only about the project but also the internal compa- ny structure. Assembling the right team will help the project move forward smoothly and conversely, having the wrong team could be detrimental to the project and the company. It would also be wise to look at other teams who may/ may not have a direct downstream effect on the project. Getting other employees' opinions view on things surrounding the project will enable you to keep a fresh perspective. When managing the business, you need to identify someone to whom you can delegate responsi- bilities–someone you trust to ensure every aspect is completed the way you would want it to be done. This will give you more time to be involved in the project. Consider an up-and-coming star on your team whom you could mentor and challenge to take on more. Properly leveraging the talents on hand not only helps you in time-management and getting things off your plate, but you develop your team mem- bers and give them a chance to take on more responsibility and possibly develop new skills. Plan: Project planning plays an essential role in guiding teams through the project's various phases. We all know that plan- ning is critical to identify the desired goals, reduce potential risks and avoid defects in the final delivered project. Since you are going to be actively commu- nicating with the project team, it is vital that your daily calen- dar remains current. Dedicate specific hours to the project and to your business responsibilities. Organization is the key to success. We only have so many hours in the day and not having a plan is a recipe for failure. Write down your daily goals, even if it is to review your team's daily produc- tivity and quality logs–stick to your plan, and stay focused, one hour at a time, and if necessary, adjust your plan to accommodate changes that arise. Do not let the pressure of trying to get it all done allow you to cut corners. Communicate: Over com- municate, really! It is important for companies to dedicate time during the beginning of a project to clearly determine the require- ments. The next step is to discuss the requirements in a group that includes all stakeholders. Include other representatives from lines of business that may have a down- stream impact. During the project, it is equally important to com- municate with the entire project team. It is important to discuss key action items, vet any outstanding issues, identify test concerns and review every update to the project plan. Ask [and have an answer] to every question that comes up don't be afraid that it might sound "dumb." Concerns, questions and input from all stakeholders need to be heard, addressed and mitigated to ensure success. Perform daily 15-minute status reports with the project team. This will save count- less hours down the road if what gets implemented is sub-par. Also, stay engaged with your business. Operations meetings, weekly team updates and one-on- one meetings are critical to staying engaged with the people keeping the organization running. Try condensing or combining some of your status updates into the same meeting, and always create an agenda to use the time wisely. Communication is a vital part of the process, not only for the project members but also for all affected employees. Following just a few of these tips will help you be success- ful when participating in new technology efforts while ensuring your business doesn't suffer. Do what works for you and your business. Communicate often, plan with as much detail as you can, and engage your teams ef- fectively, and you will be well on your way to success. JONNINE ERAS is First Vice President, Senior Operations Manager of Covina, California-based LERETA, a national provider of property tax and flood hazard data for the real estate industry. Eras has more than 30 years' experience in the mortgage loan servicing and real estate tax servicing industry and more than 15 years leading as a senior manager. Eras has spent the last 21 years with LERETA, currently overseeing several components of LERETA's standard tax and new client implementation lines of business.

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