Design is one of a kind. Other phases in Sure Step are understood and accepted as good and necessary. But design, do we really do that? Is it really necessary? Who’s going to pay for it? Does the customer really need all those documents? Instead of writing documents, you could have it developed in the same, or less time. And so on and so forth.
As a matter of fact, if you asked me to pick one single most important phase in a Sure Step project, then it’s the design. No second thoughts here, whatsoever.
Here I list the ten most important reasons that I believe make design absolutely indispensable.
While designing a custom functionality for a customer, there was an issue with posting groups: the way the custom functionality was designed would result in value entries being always posted to a single posting group, resulting in inventory balances always going to the same inventory account.
When I brought this issue to my customer’s attention, they said: “but we only have one single inventory account, and we only use one single posting group, so we don’t need this functionality to be smart about this”.
This was an example of what I like to call setup-dependent requirements.
Sometimes the Degree of Fit might seem like comparing apples and oranges. With 90 extremely detailed fits, and 10 high-level gaps, the degree of fit seems high, but it isn’t. 90 extremely detailed gaps, and 10 high-level fits, make the degree of fit seem low. In either case the degree of fit is unreliable and it doesn’t tell you anything at all.
For a degree of fit to be reliable, all the requirements should be specified roughly on the same level of detailedness. If they aren’t, you might have an extremely risky project before you, and you just don’t see it. Or you might have a slam dunk, and you stand scared to death by the non-existent risks you see all over.
In situations such as these you have to level the requirements to get a more meaningful figure, otherwise your Fit Gap Analysis doesn’t serve its purpose.
But how exactly do you tell apples from oranges in a requirements list?
If your Degree of Fit is just not there, or the balance between it and the budgetary estimate is not favorable, the risk that project will exceed the budget or not meet the requirements is high, but you might still decide to go on. In fact, most consultants often do, choosing to fight the odds. According to field reports, this approach often fails.
There are four things you can do to ensure the customer satisfaction while keeping the project in budget and still reducing the risks by increasing the degree of fit.
Requirements and process review is one of the decision accelerators in the Diagnostic phase of the Sure Step, aimed at gaining deeper understanding of customer’s business processes, and documenting high level requirements, as well as possible implementation issues. As such, it is an indispensable input into further decision accelerators and the implementation project itself.
One of the activities done in scope of this decision accelerator is identifying high-level implementation issues which are then classified into critical and non-critical. I’ve done some requirements and process reviews and had a chance to discuss it with consultants and project managers, and I’ve often found people to be somewhat confused with the logic behind this classification, because at the first glance it seems totally reverse: what you could call critical shooting from the hip, is in fact non-critical, and what you could say is non-critical, turns in fact to be critical. And it requires some general shift in the point of view of what consultants are generally used to in scope of typical gap analysis activities.