Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Delivering a usable solution

There are four main questions that your CEO could ask you about a very visible or critical project you may be managing. You better be ready to answer these questions and back them up with proof.

The questions are:

  • Is the project on Budget?
  • Is the project on time?
  • Is the customer satisfied?
  • Is the project going to deliver a usable solution?
  • Let us discuss how to deliver a usable solution.

Never Assume the Customer Knows What They Want

We need to satisfy customer, and all we have to do is build to their requirements, right? Wrong! Be sure to ask the right questions up front and don’t be afraid to ask the customer to go back to their end users and SMEs and make sure that they understand what the final solution really needs to be.

The best way to implement ERP is ‘One organization – One way of working’. But over the years, different departments of the customer organization have developed in different directions. They might be using different stand-alone softwares. With introduction of an ERP (e.g. SAP), they need to change their style of working. They may not be ready for the same & the trouble starts. You must be firm on the strategy you decided before starting the project.

Many times though don’t truly know that when the engagement starts. If that is the case, one of two things happens:

It becomes apparent part way through the engagement and then the customer is faced with change orders, a stretched out timeline, budget overruns due to rework, and a lot of frustration for both teams.
It doesn’t become apparent until deployment when the end user finally gets their hands on it and it’s not what everyone dreamed it would be. Sure, you built to the customer specs, but the lasting legacy is that the customer has an unusable solution and the finger often gets pointed at you and the delivery team.
Assemble a Skilled Delivery Team

As with any engagement, the more applicable skills your team has for delivering on the engagement, the better chance you have for success. In case of SAP, it is difficult to get exactly matched skill sets. Try to get external help, if the skills not available with your organization.

Track Requirements

During requirement analysis and Design, map out the customer requirements well and manage those requirements closely. Keep track of where those requirements are implemented in the final solution. Missed requirements mean a solution that doesn’t match your customers documented needs.

Test and Re-Test

Have the customer build their own test cases and also use those during your own system tests prior to UAT along with your own test cases. Make sure the customer has solid, knowledgeable resources engaged for the User Acceptance Testing. Ensure that the end-client gets enough time to complete the UAT.

(UAT) sessions and definitely get their signoff on UAT once it’s completed.

A well-tested system goes along way in ensuring that the delivered system will work for the customer.

Get All Signoffs

Sign-off requirements, prototype design, UAT and all other documents. Do not rush to start next phase of the project unless previous phase is signed off by the customer. Ensure that the signing customer is authorized by their management.