Agile has been gaining momentum among software development methodologies for past decade or so. Various researches and surveys consistently show that software developed under an agile approach is generally better than the software developed under waterfall approaches.
At the core of any agile approach is an assumption that whatever the requirements might be at the beginning of a project, they won’t be the same at the end of the project. The longer the project, the more truth there is in this assumption. To mitigate this situation, agile methodologies start with smaller sets of requirements, they start small and deliver functionality incrementally in a series of releases. No single release covers all requirements, but every release delivers more than the previous one.
With ERP implementations, we generally don’t subscribe to this idea. And at that, we might be wrong.
A blog reader has asked me for help about an allegedly strange behavior of items with serial number tracking. They had a customer who had serial number tracking switched on for an item with FIFO costing method. Whenever they posted a sales transaction, they chose the serial number manually. Then they noticed a puzzling behavior.
No matter the specification of the serial number on the sales lines, Microsoft Dynamics NAV seemed to be closing the item entries according to FIFO method. This effectively allowed a serial number to be sold twice (or more). They called for help.
Four months ago I attended a conference, where I had a chance to listen to Miha Kralj, an architect at Microsoft, talk about architectures. It was one of the best presentations I ever attended, and ever since I had this topic in queue, but never really had chance to write about it. Most of the stuff he talked about reminded me of some bad experiences about architectures on projects I’ve worked on. Most of stuff here is also not my original contribution to the universal pool of knowledge, and I reuse it with the permission of the author, so Miha, thanks! What I did, however, is that I applied general principles to specific Microsoft Dynamics NAV situations.
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.