Taking ownership in Sage 200 projects
As a Sage 200 service provider we often get quizzed on the value of project management to an implementation; it is the area that some clients exert the most pressure on when trying to trim a project. But good project management from both the Sage Business Partner and the client is essential to the smooth running of a project, user adoption and overall success of an implementation. We revisited some of our customer sites where strong client project management was put in place and respected throughout the project to find out what our clients felt were the lessons to be learned from their experiences. Here are the top seven Sage 200 tips suggested to make your Sage 200 implementation an even greater success:
- Be clear about your desired output. Focus on the particular outputs required by each department and even by each employee in order to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. From an output you can work back and design a system and a process that will deliver to your needs.
- Don’t shortcut the specification stage, wherever it comes in the process. Focus on getting a document that details the output, get it agreed, sign it off and then keep a copy close to you every day to ensure that you focus on delivery of your goal.
- Understand the schedule to which you’ll be working and the tasks that need to be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Every task must be accounted for. That way you can see the workload and understand your commitment every day you come into work. If a task doesn’t get done on the Monday, then lift it and make sure it happens on the next day. If it moves time and time again it should act as a warning sign that your project is potentially slipping.
- Keep the momentum going in a project by understanding what your “criticals” are and what your “nice to haves” consist of. Users can get side-tracked when they get excited and start to wander off course in training and testing periods. They can also distract your Sage 200 consultant if not kept in check. “Nice to haves” can always be reviewed later down the line; prioritise the critical.
- Document the change and the decision to change. It’s an obvious thing but the “why” of a decision is often as important in understanding a delay or unpicking a mistake in your project as the “what”. Changes will be inevitable but to know why and by who is crucial to cutting through the blame culture that can sometimes spring up when under the pressure of a project.
- For maximum user adoption keep a visible record of questions asked by other employees. A whiteboard is ideal. Note every question, who asked it and when and then as you get those questions answered, knock them off the list and respond to the employee in question. By acknowledging their concern, validating its importance and responding directly to them you will see a much higher user adoption.
- Test, test, test. It seems like an important, obvious phase but often gets rushed; users are often too busy doing their day job and get frustrated that they are being asked to do simple tasks twice in two different systems. That frustration can feel very real to those employees already stretched, so if the business wants maximum return from its investment, it has to give the employees the time and space to test properly. This is key to aid user adoption.