“When organizations undertake software implementations, they do not anticipate failure despite the risks associated with such complex projects. Rather, they plan for success, governed by their budgets, deliverables, executive expectations and go‐live deadlines. Yet despite their best efforts at project management, failure rates remain high.

Software implementations fail for variety of reasons, including lack of top management commitment, unrealistic expectations, poor requirements definition, improper package selection, gaps between software and business requirements, inadequate resources, unrealistic budgets and schedules, poor project management, lack of project management methodology, underestimating the impact of change, lack of training and education, and last but not least poor communication.

With such a laundry list of failure factors, improving the odds of software implementation success seems impossible, but it can be accomplished. It begins with a blueprint of strategic project assurance at critical points in the implementation. Such a project assurance blueprint establishes a clear understanding of expectations among all people involved—from business and IT management to vendor partners and end users.”

Things to do:

  • Identify a project team.
  • Designate a project leader.
  • Ensure project team represents all levels of your organization that is effected from the project.

Team members should have some of the following abilities:

  • Problem‐solving
  • Availability
  • Technical expertise
  • Credibility
  • Ambition
  • Energy

Define clear project boundaries. Set clearly defined goals and objectives for the project. Does the project help your organization to reach its goals? Discover what you are doing presently and what you will be doing. Determine exactly what your requirements are.

Requirements should:

  • Be consistent
  • Be correct
  • Be realistic
  • Be verifiable
  • Be traceable
  • Be complete
  • Be specific

Search for hidden requirements.

What is your current computer equipment status? What will you need? What is your data communication status? Does it meet minimum requirements? What is the technical competency of your staff? Do you have IT staff? Do not forget that there will be many costs other than the software.

These include:

  • Computers & internet connection
  • IT Staff / consultant time
  • Lost productivity and learning curve time
  • Time required for double‐entry during transition
  • Annual software maintenance cost

Product Considerations:

  • Ensure product is scalable.
  • Ensure you compare cost to feature sets. Don’t settle based on price alone as this could cost you more in the long run.
  • What kind of access controls are implemented?
  • Are their hidden cost? Modular cost?
  • Where is the data stored?
  • Are there off site backups?
  • What kind of support?
  • Check referrals!

Other Considerations:

  • Successful technology implementations require an organization to have processes in place that the technology enhances.
  • Try to stay focused on your core needs and not the bells and whistles.
  • Do not worship your forms. If you can capture the necessary data, let the form go.
  • Do not allow a few exceptions derail the entire process. Even if you have a handful of situations accommodated outside of your system, do not let that stop moving forward.

Key Resources:

  1. Project Management: 6 Best Practices for Ensuring Software Implementation Success
  2. 20 Steps to Software Implementation
  3. Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, Software Engineering Theory And Practice, Upper Saddle River NJ, Prentice Hall, INC., 1998
  4. Thomas A. Powell. Web Site Engineering, Upper Saddle River NJ, Prentice Hall,1998
  5. Clifford F. Gray/Erik W. Larson, Project Management The Managerial Process, McGraw‐ Hill, 2000

View Whitepaper

Fill in below to view full whitepaper.

Thank you! Your submission was successful.