A budgeting or reporting solution implementation can go smoothly if you apply some implementation best practices. Before you start your solution implementation, revisit your business process. This is the prime time to re-engineer your process! Define your business requirements which align your corporate strategy with your end-users.
After you are satisfied with your business process, avoid these four common pitfalls to implement your budgeting solution right the first time.
1. Requirements Are A Constantly Moving Target
You want to avoid changing requirements too often as they can drag on the project. With changing requirements, time and effort is misused trying to stabilize the requirements in the middle of the project and this can also require a lot of re-work. Instead, put the time into gathering the requirements upfront before the solution is developed.
- It’s perfectly common to have changes to the requirements during the implementation but make sure all changes are documented, even if they are communicated over the phone. Update the timeline, effort and budget as needed.
- For non-critical changes, push them to a later phase. Segment the requirements into ‘must have’ vs. ‘nice to have’. Implement the ‘must have’ requirements first. This will ensure your key requirements are met on time, break the project into smaller phases, and allow users to start using the solution sooner. Discuss future phases with your implementation team so the solution is designed scalable.
2. Setting Unrealistic Timelines and Expectations
Everyone is eager to start as soon as possible and finish as quickly as possible. However, it is important to set realistic timelines and expectations at the onset of the project.
- Ask your implementation partner to provide feedback on how other clients in your industry have implemented the solution. As they may have similar requirements, this will help define realistic timelines and also help you understand best practices of other clients in your industry.
- Ensure the right resources from both your team and the implementation team are available during the project. Be aware of all vacation and holidays for the resources to help define the timeline.
3. Insufficient Communication
Communication is extremely important in any project. The project can run off course if there is insufficient communication.
- Make sure the implementation consultants are in sync with your project team.
- Have regular status meetings to communicate project progress and discuss issues.
- Ask questions! All parties should ask questions to avoid making assumptions.
- Choose your team. Consultants come with various skills and different levels of strength in each skill. Some are strong in business communication and some have stronger technical skills. Work with your implementation partner and request if you can put together a team of consultants with skills that best fits your needs.
- During User Acceptance Testing (UAT), meet more often to review issues and priorities.
- Review your solution as it develops, not at the end.
4. Lack of Training
It is important to know your product at an early stage of the project, so you know the full extent of what the solution can do. Training is recommended for client Power Users at the starting of the project so that they can also become involved with the design and development. Avoid leaving training to the very end!
- Train power users at the start of the project! Power users will become the administrators of the solution: creating standard input templates, reports, and managing security.
- By training Power Users at the starting of the project, they can also work on some of the project tasks, which will help reduce consulting costs and help the hands-on experience.
- Train your end users prior to User Acceptance Testing (UAT). End users will access reports, input data, and create ad-hoc reports. Client power users should train end-users.
- Create an end-user training document.