4 strategies for a favorable Degree of Fit

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.

Let’s see what they are.

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Sure Step in action: more about Fit Gap Analysis

image Fit Gap Analysis is one of the core activities of the Sure Step. It’s in fact so important that on most projects this activity should be done twice: the first time you do it on a very high level just get a quick overview of customer’s processes and requirements, and the second time you dive deep down into details to figure out everything.

This is not the first time I blog about it. I explained the meaning of the Degree of Fit, as well as its value in determining the risks of customizing the solution, and then I shared some thoughts about how to use hourly estimates from the Fit Gap worksheet. But every time I think of Fit Gap or I teach it at a course, there seems to be so much more to it.

There are a couple of more points I’d like to address about it:

  • How (and why) to engineer the Degree of Fit?
  • Isn’t the Degree of Fit a bit too blurry?
  • Are the five fit/gap categories really all there is about it?
  • Can you inherit a Fit Gap Analysis results from another consultant?

Let’s discuss the first topic today: engineering a desirable Degree of Fit.

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Requirements and Process Review – Critical vs. Non Critical

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.

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Fit Gap and Solution Blueprint Estimates

The Sure Step season seems to have started in its fullest for me – it is the second time this year already that I’m delivering the Sure Step course, this time in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I must say that I truly enjoy it.

Anyway, while discussing the Fit Gap and Solution Blueprint decision accelerator, an important component of the Diagnostic phase, a student asked me an interesting question: why do we need to give effort estimates to meet the requirements at this stage?

And indeed – isn’t it far too early to give or commit to any effort estimates at this early stage, isn’t there a huge risk that the customer might understand these estimates as final project estimates? What’s the true meaning of effort estimates during Fit Gap analysis in diagnostic phase?

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Sure Step 2010

One of the drawbacks of being a freelancer is a slight risk to learn a bit late about anything new. Once upon a time, when I was still blogging actively, I made sure I was the first to blog about something new, as long as it relates to Sure Step. This time, the news came to me through two channels: through Microsoft Dynamics UK Blog and through Chandru Shankar’s post in SureStep PM Methodology group on LinkedIn.

So, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, I’m just reposting the content from these two sources, but I’ll not miss to say that I am totally thrilled with this new release, and the new stuff it brings along.

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