Each phase of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology is equally important in an implementation project. You could argue that analysis is the most important, or that design is the most important, or that operation is less important. I’ll paraphrase Scott Adams here and ask: how one phase can be more important if each of them is completely necessary? Well, except for Diagnostic phase.
Methodology is a tough topic. There are good methodologies, there are bad methodologies, there are good methodologies gone bad. Methodology is not a silver bullet, it won’t just make any problems disappear, and is hardly ever the single source of success or failure. But a methodology can be a major contributor to success. I could put it this way: you stand much better chances of success if you apply a methodology, then if you don’t. With something as critical as an implementation of business software, methodology is a key success factor. According to Jim Johnson of Standish Group, it’s number nine on their ten identified most important success factors.
I had to update this post a little bit, see below for the details, but the killer feature had to go 🙁
A few days back, while prototyping a new solution for a customer, one of the key users said: “But in our old software it didn’t work like that.” I was about to try to explain why the change, but then the user’s boss said:
– We aren’t implementing a new solution so that everything can stay the way it was.
How often does it happen to you that your customers say to you a similar thing: “But in our old system…”? What do you say to them? How do you approach change when your consultant proposes a new way of doing things, or a new approach to a common problem?
The biggest jeopardies often lurk where we least expect them. When implementing an ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, what should be one of our best allies, turns out to be our mortal enemy. It has a simple name: The Standard. Standard processes, standard functionality, standard documents, standard system. All these gizmos can turn into gremlins in a blink of an unattentive eye.
Standards are tricky. If during due dilligence, or diagnostic or analysis phase, we hear the prospect or customer utter the word “standard”, what do we instinctively do? Well, in a standard system, it’s pretty obvious what the standard is, and when the customer says that they “just have standard processes” it means that these processes are just covered with such a standard system, right? So we instinctively tend to skip the more detailed analysis of these, because after all, they are standard.