You’ve decided to create a MaaS app for your organisation, community, citizens or visitors. So, what’s next? If you haven’t already done so, you might like to read our recent article on whether to create a MaaS app internally or outsource to an experienced MaaS software provider.
Another important decision you’ll need to make is who should lead your MaaS project. This could be someone you bring into the business to oversee the project or an employee suited to the challenge. Having a project manager will help the project succeed, creating a solid foundation so your app gets off to a flying start, no matter if you develop it yourself or decide to outsource the development.
Why a project manager is essential
Creating a MaaS app, like any other software project, requires someone to champion its cause and focus everyone’s attention on what needs to be done. Here are seven reasons to engage a project manager:
- Goals and direction: A project manager will agree on the brief and financials with all key stakeholders so that everyone is clear on the vision for the project and what it sets out to achieve. They will also manage the scope of the project.
- Smooth running project: they will make sure questions are answered promptly and actions are taken so the project remains on track and to budget. Making adjustments as necessary and avoiding bottlenecks will keep everyone moving toward the end goal.
- Project life cycle management: managing each phase of the project efficiently is a skill. It means engaging stakeholders, dealing with procurement, reviewing milestones and sharing information so all stakeholders are kept informed of progress.
- Accountability: assigning responsibility for the project ensures there’s little room for misunderstanding. Of course, a project manager can’t achieve this on their own but they’re charged with ensuring all those involved – including board members – are kept accountable for the part they play in making the project a success.
- Single point of contact: this helps to avoid confusion and creates consistency throughout the entire project. From questions about app branding or your user base to the integration of your own transport, having a go-to person assigned to the project will ensure your MaaS software provider gets the information they need quickly and efficiently.
- Risk and constraint management: regardless of how well planned a project is, there are always potential risks – the sooner you spot them, the quicker they can be assessed and their impact reduced or mitigated. Likewise, constraints are an inevitable part of any project so it’s important these are managed along the critical path.
- Project closure: once the app is completed, the project will need to be closed off. Documenting and reviewing this process with those involved is good practice. Evaluating the systems, process and lessons learned will stand you in good stead for future projects – even if they’re not software or MaaS-related.
The ideal project manager for your MaaS app
Now you know why it’s a good idea to assign a project manager for your MaaS app, what type of person would be the best fit? Here we’ll look at 13 essential qualities of the ideal candidate:
- Thorough planner: Be able to break down every stage of the app project into its component parts so no stone is left unturned. Obviously, your MaaS provider or in-house experts will be taking care of the software part but the project manager will need to understand what’s happening at a high level – and have clear expectations for each milestone.
- Efficient organiser: From arranging meetings and getting key stakeholders together to gathering information and data, being efficient avoids wasting money, resources and ensures everyone’s time is utilised productively. Great time management skills, the ability to prioritise activities and understand their impact on everyone – and everything – is a must. Juggling is one of their greatest skills!
- Excellent communicator: Communication is arguably the top skill of a good project manager, dealing with everyone from the CEO and board members to junior-level employees. Internal and external communication about the MaaS app ensures everyone remains in the loop and even where there’s little progress to report, keeps the project on everyone’s radar.
- Great collaborator: The spirit of collaboration can’t be overestimated – both internally and externally. Your MaaS software provider or in-house work group is essentially an extension of your internal team, so your project manager will need to get everyone working together to ensure ideas and information flows effortlessly between everyone concerned.
- Relationship builder: Keeping the momentum going and everyone onside involves creating and maintaining strong relations with all project stakeholders. Nurturing relationships between your MaaS provider and your organisation or PTA will help to develop a deeper understanding of how each operates and help the project to run more smoothly as well as keep everyone enthused, engaged and aligned.
- Top negotiator: There will always be differences of opinion from the overall vision for the MaaS app to what features are important to include. Everyone has their own ideas! A great project manager will smoothly deal with these conflicting opinions presenting a united front and clear direction.
- Team player: Not only does your project manager need to keep everyone moving in the right direction, but they also shouldn’t be afraid to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in. A good project manager doesn’t sit on the sidelines. Once decisions are made they’re an action taker and will get on with the work at hand.
- Thoughtful delegator: However good the project manager is, they’ll not be able to complete every task themselves. They may need support with procurement, internal/external communications, information gathering, creating website pages, and marketing campaigns. This can be especially important the nearer it gets to the launch of your MaaS app.
- Calm problem solver: Being able to handle problems calmly and see the ‘wood for the trees’ is a key skill. Issues might arise from an unforeseen decrease in budget, loss of resource, change to the brief or disagreement between stakeholders. Remaining unflappable is vital to avoid issues escalating and holding up the project unnecessarily.
- Smart decision maker: This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Being able to make decisions that are right for the project and not get sidetracked are key traits to look out for. It’s important to remember that the project manager not only needs to have the ability to make good decisions but also the authority to do so as well.
- Diligent risk manager: Foreseeing risks is part and parcel of project management. While a professional MaaS software provider will mitigate against most potential risks in a software project, there may be issues that only you can determine such as changes to budget or personnel within your organisation. Someone who can keep a close eye on this and make decisions accordingly is a key asset.
- Fast learner: If you engage a professional MaaS software specialist, you don’t need to know every nuance of the technology and development process. They’ll take care of that. However, it is important to understand the high-level detail. Maybe some functionality is not technically feasible or additional integrations will provide greater support to vulnerable groups. Understanding is key to asking the right questions and being able to dissect and discuss the answers with internal stakeholders.
- Business aware: Your project manager will need a sound understanding of how your organisation operates – including in the wider marketplace – and the role the MaaS app will play. General business acumen along with management skills ensure that the decisions they take are both realistic and fit within the goal you’re setting out to achieve.
The ultimate benefits to the project
Assigning the best project manager for your MaaS app will provide a strong foundation for success. It ensures there’s a seamless transition from development through to marketing, encouraging usage of the app and making the most of the investment.
This means that everyone wins. Organisations, corporations and public transport authorities meet their goals, whether that’s cost savings, meeting community needs, or supporting broader aspirations such as reducing environmental impact. For end-users, they gain better access to information on the modes of transport available to them.
After all, the ultimate aim of any MaaS project is to create a transport and travel solution that improves the way people move around, creating greater flexibility, convenience and a more enjoyable journey. The right project manager will help you get there.
If you’d like to find out more about SkedGo and how we can help you on your MaaS journey, contact us today. We’re always happy to discuss your project and find the best way forward for you.