Last week Thibault Gindre wrote a thought provoking post about businesses having the right to decide with whom they are willing to do business. That post got me thinking about cooperation between implementer and customer; about how a genuine cooperation and agreement on who is responsible for what, lays the foundation for a successful and less stressful implementation.
Successful implementations that have met their time and cost budgets, have not placed undue strain on the staff, and have not had any negative impact on the company’s operation, all have one thing in common – cooperation between the parties involved.
A planning session prior to the commencement of a project should:
- clearly define what is in the project scope and what is not
- ensure that there are no other major projects planned for the same period (moving offices; public float etc.)
- define and agree who are the key stakeholders and their individual responsibilities
- ensure that key personnel will be present during the project and plan some “back-filling” for day to day tasks so that key personnel will available for their project responsibilities
- identify and people change management issues, requirements and actions
- decide who will be doing the training and how it will be done
- identify project risk and agree on containment strategies and contingency plans
Senior management involvement in the planning session vital. If senior managers are seen to be leading and driving the project, staff will have a greater commitment to the work involved and the success of the implementation. Despite decades of software project implementations, and a clear understanding of what contributes to their success or failure, some companies still stand back from their project and expect the implementation partner to do work that should be done by the company.
Of course the unexpected can still happen, but good planning and cooperation can reduce the number of unexpected issues that arise during the project. Every attempt should be made to anticipate, but there should also be a state of readiness to respond quickly when the unanticipated occurs. With mutual respect and understanding, the implementer and the customer will be able to work together to achieve a smooth implementation and to maximise the business benefits that the company gets from its new system.