Choosing a Mifos Specialist

Although the skills and experience you require in a Mifos Specialist will vary depending on the skills already available in-house, consider the following skill sets when hiring the Specialist.

Do also keep in mind the criteria Grameen Foundation uses to evaluate potential Mifos Specialists.

Project Management. The Specialist you select needs to understand the challenges of working on site. They should be able to manage project schedules, including assigning tasks and deliverables and setting milestones. They should be able to provide examples of their experience in setting roles and defining responsibilities for a project team, including identifying the relevant stakeholders, reviewing the skill sets of stakeholders, and assessing other responsibilities and workloads. Specialists should be able to give examples of challenges and success stories in balancing vendor needs with client needs, and IT/MIS team needs with operations and senior management needs. They should have experience in understanding and balancing the communication needs and styles of different stakeholders.

Domain Experience. Specialists should understand microfinance policies, processes and workflows, and be able to use the tools for mapping those workflows. They need to understand and help define reporting requirements, taking regulatory and donor requirements into consideration. They need to understand the data needs of microfinance and be able to help MFIs prioritize those needs. They need prior experience in recommending process change. For example, they need to be able to describe how they have dealt with common process issues such as determining acceptable workarounds, how they have gotten management to buy into IT-driven process change, and how they have driven process change across an organization.

Systems Migration. Specialists should have previous experience in managing system migration, including data mapping from one database to another and from a manual to an automated database. They should be able to give examples of conversion tools they’ve used, both manual and automated. They should have experience in developing user and administrator training. They should also be experienced in communicating organizational change, including managing client expectations and communicating change beyond the project team across the organization. They should provide examples of successful roll-outs, including timing and success factors. They should have experience in collecting and reporting bugs and other types of feedback.

System Administration and Technical Support. Specialists should have experience in developing hosting strategies, including defining and testing connectivity requirements, identifying hosting options, and implementing data backup and archiving processes. They should be able to configure systems and be familiar SQL along with various report writing tools like Pentaho.

Open Source Community. Lastly, Specialists should understand open source processes and be comfortable with an open source culture. They should be willing to actively participate in open discussion with community members on the mailing lists and sharing documentation, planning documents, and lessons learned on