It’s a well known fact that IT projects fail every so often. Standish Group has been researching the success and failure factors of IT projects for a decade and a half, and they publish their results in their CHAOS report every two years or so. According to their 2006 report, only about 35% of projects can be categorized as successful, while 65% are declared unsuccessful. In this report, word unsuccessful can mean anything from exceeding time and/or budget (46% of projects) or failing altogether (19% of them). With such a huge proportion of projects going astray, maybe there was something wrong with these projects from the very beginning. Were the time and budget unrealistic? Were the project requirements, or even objectives, unrealistic? Maybe. Or maybe not. How can you tell?
About six months ago, when I was buying a car, a friend of mine, in a typical The Good, the Bad and the Ugly fashion, told me that there were two kinds of cars: good cars, and French cars. I bought a French car. I bought a Peugeot 407 SW (Peugeot says their cars are engineered to be enjoyed) and although I could do so, I am not going to make this a post about what went wrong with this car already so far. This is going to be a post about how the simplest of the features of an ERP system can influence customer (dis)satisfaction, and create long term decisions for, or against a car vendor. Also, not typical for me, I am speaking from the shoes of a customer, rather than consultant, this time. Quite a change for me.
They say the only constant is change. I’d say that the only other constant is error. We humans tend to err. Give a repeatable task to a human, and they’ll mess it up every once in a while. Some call it the human factor.
One of the many repeatable tasks in Microsoft Dynamics NAV is setting up items. If you remember my rant about mandatory fields, and how I said they were baaad, there might be an even more baaad kind of fields: the default value fields. Because the system simply inserts a value into these fields without asking for your say, and if anything is easy, it’s only so easy to overlook these. Yep, you have a chance to voice your oppinion on these, but having got to hurry for a cup of coffe with Mary from accounting, admit it, you’re gonna leave that default FIFO costing method for an item every once in a while, even though it should really have been Average. Then you’ll start posting. Then your phone rings and starts screaming at you about a moron who screwed up items again.