Software Implementation: Execution and Key Deliverables

ChecklistHow to overcome go-live issues and prepare for post-execution business dynamics

You’ve met the challenge of building solid requirements, identifying risk and benefits and building a solid foundation for success and now you’ve reached the point of executing the implementation plan.

You’ve checked off all the boxes but realize there may be some unexpected events that will happen. The key will be to quickly address and resolve these unplanned issues. A strong, calm and experienced project manager help mitigate the crisis.

Best time to go live

Implementation activities must be well thought out. You should always go live when no customer interaction is expected — but have all of your staff available as though it’s business as usual. Operating a new system and following your implementation plan without any external pressures will reduce panic when the inevitable issues rear their ugly heads. This will allow more time for your implementation team to address any critical elements.

If you are faced with a crisis that cannot be quickly resolved, step back and assess the situation: “Is this a show stopper?”  The fact that you’ve hit one issue that causes pause could indicate there are others that may yet present themselves. Are you prepared to take that risk?  Or it is better to stop, regroup and plan your next attempt?

The most important implementation deliverable is a system that meets the accepted requirements as defined in the project scope. You confirmed the user acceptance and system integration testing and met the specified criteria. Whenever you hit a bump, you evaluate the options and agreed-upon adjustments to the scope and timeline; then you are on your way to a successful implementation.

Training to support user acceptance

Once the system is live, focus on the acceptance of the user population. During user acceptance testing, additional issues will need to be evaluated and a resolution plan put in place. This is a very difficult time because users are pulled in multiple directions — typically trying to get through their day. They have not yet understood the new benefits and shortcuts so additional training may be needed to support them and answer new questions or introduce new concepts.

Implementation may seem like the end of the road but as your business evolves, your supporting software must continue to meet your ever-changing needs. Position your post-implementation efforts in a way to accept improvements and changes in business dynamics and strategies. The ultimate success of your business is greatly affected by the long-term vision of your implementation strategy.

For more implementation insights, read the Milestone AV Technologies case study. This demonstrates streamlined order-to-cash and plan-to-produce processes, then alignment with an on-time, under-budget SAP software implementation to create a foundation for improved productivity and support for growth and acquisition plans.

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