In the first of a series of posts on software project management, George Strathie, Software & Services Director, highlights some important factors that should be considered before embarking on a software implementation to help ensure your software project is completed on-time and as smoothly as possible.
By this, we specifically mean the definition of your requirements which is important as it leads into the definition of the scope of the project which will help your organisation understand the benefits of the implementation i.e. why you are undertaking this project and what you hope to achieve that’s outside the capabilities of your current systems. Detailing your requirements will help understand what you’re going to achieve.
Change control is important to prevent scope creep. It’s important to identify why a change is happening, the magnitude of the change and the impact it’s going to have on the software project. Change isn’t a bad thing to be avoided at all costs, but it’s important that the controls are in place to ensure that change can happen. Organisational change happens on a daily basis, so change to an implementation project should be encouraged and acceptable so long as it’s accompanied by the right kind of controls.
The role of the project manager
The role and responsibilities of a project manager is often discharged to someone who is already busy, already has a day job and in the example of an implementation of a finance system, is often passed to a member of the finance team who may not have the relevant experience.
The project manager needs to be aware of the risks. They must properly manage deliverables and objectives, but also keep an eye on risk, organising rooms, tasks, and equipment. If there’s not enough time allocated to this, it can have an adverse impact on progress. Re-arranging planning sessions, training and acceptance testing through an oversight can put back an activity by weeks while diaries need to be co-ordinated. Project Management is a critical role which has defined tasks and should be given proper consideration.
If you identify a risk, then you are a good part of the way towards mitigating it. Risks need to be proactively identified and it’s important to see the risks that are associated to the implementation of the project, as you can then put plans in place that can help smooth the delivery of the project.
People are very busy and there is constant pressure within organisations to ensure their staff does more with less time. It’s important to consider whether you have the right level of resource for the delivery of the project as the last thing you need for the successful delivery of a project is too much pressure on your staff, so they are literally camping out in your offices to get the project completed. It’s not only the allocation of the resource, but also the ring-fencing of that allocation that’s important.
Next Week: Why use a proven Project Methodology?
In our next post, we’ll be looking at project methodology. A methodology is a framework for the delivery of the project. It’s not a project plan, a Terms of Reference document or a training manual; it’s all of those, plus a process that suppliers or providers use to guarantee a successful outcome for each project.