- Assess environment for a complex project
- Identify excellent, experienced project manager
- Gather clear and complete requirements
You can ensure yours will succeed. Project Readiness is a game changer.
Once your software vendor arrives, you are off to the races, with tons of design questions to answer, tons of data to produce, tons of deadlines to meet. You will have no time to do the difficult heavy lifting of research to ensure that you design the best system to meet your future needs.
There is a huge difficulty gap between standard projects and projects that are defined as “complex”. If several of the following factors are true of your project, then it is complex, and you should take extra care to prepare.
Every company, every leader is different. Some companies run many projects, some few. Some companies require much project rigor, some run projects by the seat of their pants. Some leaders want to stay informed on the details, some want no information until the deadlines are near.
Projects can succeed in most any environment, but it is important to know what your particular project is going to face. To define your project and know what you need to do to succeed, determine these four factors:
Download our Project Environmental Assessment to help know specific success steps to take, depending on the four above factors. The download is free with your contact information. You will receive an email with the download and be added to our customer system. We do not sell or share customer data with third parties for any reason.
Enter your contact information to download the Project Environmental Assessment.
Studies show that the primary reason that complex projects fail is due to an inexperienced Project Manager. The number of balls that must be kept in the air on complex projects far exceeds the same for standard projects. Also, the difficulty of problems that occur and the number and difficulty of communication exponentially increases for complex projects. Only high quality, experienced Project Managers can handle the heavy lift of running these type of projects.
If your project is complex…
Clear, detailed, and complete business requirements are difficult to gather. Business requirements need to be:
The vendor assumes that you have already completed these business requirements prior to project start. If you have not, you will be lagging behind from the start of the project.
To gather these business requirements,
System conversion projects create the way your company will run its business for many years to come. Therefore, you must have your best people on projects. They must be the people with the most knowledge of current systems, integrations, and processes. They also must be the most energetic about change! Complex projects are long and difficult, and it is easy to get discouraged with the workload and pace of change. If core team members come to the project resistant to change, they will likely not survive the project.
Download our Nine Ground Rules for Cohesive Team Behavior (R) flyer to begin changing your team’s dynamics into a solutions-oriented machine. The download is free with your contact information. You will receive an email with the download and be added to our customer system. We do not sell or share customer data with third parties for any reason.
Enter your contact information to download the Nine Ground Rules for Cohesive Team Behavior.
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You can’t get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you are!
Current State documentation consists of accurate diagrams and data flows of your existing systems. The diagrams should contain all integration points, with frequency, data types, level of detail, and direction of data flow. The diagram should have an accompanying description of each box (system) and arrow (integration).
These diagrams are more difficult to build than expected, as the integrations are often old, and developers who wrote them may no longer be with the company. Getting clarity and accuracy in these documents is essential, so that design decisions can be made based on facts and not speculation or faulty memory.
In order to ensure diagram accuracy, iterate until you have cross-departmental agreement.
Once completed, these Current State documents bring quick and necessary context to design discussions.
There is no time to build these documents once the vendor arrives, so this preparation is critical prior to the project.
For most system conversions, there are a handful of processes that are the “big rocks” – the most difficult and crucial components of the system to design. As with most of the project readiness tips herein, there will be no time to dig deep into these difficult components once the vendor arrives. Therefore, it is crucial to gain a solid grasp on most of the details (wherein the devil lies) prior to project start.
For example, in a general ledger system conversion, these most difficult components will likely be:
Vendors typically ask for your current chart of accounts to load into the new system. Without prior preparation, you will just do a “lift and shift”, loading outdated accounts into a new shiny system. Worse yet, your existing chart of accounts was likely built 30 years ago and does not adequately serve your future needs. You may need new dimensions for reporting enhancements. You want to break out accounts as detailed and as summarized as needed:
It is difficult and important to find the balance and to ensure cross-company acceptance.
Allocations (especially for complicated industries such as insurance and utilities) are often extremely complex, with intricate layers, large datasets, and difficult logic. Knowing your existing allocations is crucial, so that you understand the reasons those allocations were written (again, likely 30 years ago). Some may no longer be needed. Some may have significant gaps or changes based on your current/future needs.
Project readiness on these most difficult system components can easily be the lynchpin that turns the project into a success.