Quicker System Implementations – Quicker Benefits
By Manny Sequeira
“If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that! ” – Project Management Proverbs.
Rapid Deployment and Lean Methodologies in application development are not new. These methodologies employ iterative cycles of designing, building and testing activities, to quickly validate requirements, and address development issues. In this way, defects and rework are reduced. This also gets requirements correct to avoid waste due to developing functionality that is not needed.
Even though these methodologies are not new, the execution of these methodologies in large ERP system implementations is not widespread as it should be. There could be several reasons for this. If you are a large consulting company with a big bench, it may not be in your interest to propose a shorter implementation with a smaller team!! However, I like to believe today the consulting industry is competitive enough so that businesses are smart enough to look around and get the best deal when implementing their systems.
One bigger hurdle to getting to rapid deployment with ERP projects is the planning for such a project. Rapid deployment/ lean approaches depend on breaking down the work into pieces that can be designed, built and tested in parallel. This requires a thorough understanding of business processes, business requirements, and of the ERP application – in planning the project! Project Preparation is therefore crucial in getting a rapid deployment project executed correctly. These pieces of the project can be defined as Work Packages or Learning Cycles. Some companies prefer calling these Learning Cycles, as that emphasizes the fact that the team needs to be continually learning through design, built and test to ensure the highest quality of the end product.
This approach requires early availability of system infrastructure for development and for testing / quality assurance.
This approach also requires early involvement of the user community in testing and QA activities. This supports early knowledge transfer, and thus reduces training efforts closer to go-live.
Key benefits of faster system implementations:
- Leveraging what is there! Building on what we know. Not re-inventing the wheel = innovation.
- Sharper requirements – stay focused on meeting business requirements. Less “fluff” in development.
- Reduced rework through quick design-to-test cycles.
- Learning cycles built into development – faster knowledge transfer.
- Controlled scope = simpler project plans and lower overhead. Milestone plans drive project performance.
Manny Sequeira is a project manager with Clarkston Consulting with significant international experience in project management and ERP systems implementation, primarily in consumer products, process manufacturing & retail industries. Clarkston Consulting has offices across North America and Europe and focus on Consumer Products and Life Sciences verticals. Manny runs Improve Your Business containing, a blog containing a selection of articles, ideas and scribblings of interest to people who want to improve their businesses with talented people, world class processes and appropriate technologies – no matter what size the business.