When asked for guidance by busy executives, often with limited experiences in software project preparation and development, on how best to plan for a software implementation, migration, or upgrade project, I am happy to provide practicable and sound advice based upon my twenty-five plus years of cumulative software experiences.
While every project may have its unique needs and requirements, I have found that when these six commonly shared steps are properly addressed, software projects tend to travel a smoother path. Plus, projects seem to have a quicker ROI, and a better chance of being successful, if the suggested attention-to-detail can be achieved at each step.
- Step One – Build a project team to match project needs
- Step Two – Formulate a detailed blueprint for your team
- Step Three – Set reasonable deliverables, timelines, and milestones
- Step Four – Create a budget and set an ROI target goal
- Step Five – Establish reporting guidelines and change processes
- Step Six – Assess risks if project goals and deadlines are missed
My recommended project approach is one of applying best case traits and proven methodologies, which can be emulated every time to create repeatable and predictable project results.
Successful software projects are never open ended; and, they are always framed by engagement delivery tasks that are due within a specified amount of time, and within a specified budget. Please note that these six steps are not all inclusive for every project; and, because projects may vary in goals, scope, and complexity, additional steps may be necessary or required.
Build a project team to match project needs
Building a Team
Software project teams vary in membership size and skill sets, all built around the complexity, scope, and timing of a project. Core ERP project teams typically start with 5 to 10 members. However, for many projects, it may be common for teams to dynamically expand and contract as functional and technical phases may be addressed and completed.
Team member roles, and their skill sets, are often designated as being either functional or technical. Functional roles are associated with specific business processes or activities; whereas, technical roles may be associated with general IT programming and/or technology processes or activities. In some cases, technical knowledge can also apply to knowledge of technical manufacturing processes for specialized packaging systems, including aspects of mechanical engineering, product conveyance, industrial plant process controls, and the like.
Regardless of a project’s scope, there are two required roles that every project team needs:
- An executive sponsor, who champions the project, guides it through a budget approval process; and, often has the most to gain with its successful conclusion.
- A project manager, who manages the team’s day-to-day work effort, coordinates resources, provides periodic project updates to the executive staff; and, has decision making authority to keep the project on track.
Depending upon time constraints of the project team, other project demands and commitments, or the availability of internal resources, outside consulting teams, are often utilized as partners to provide supplemental or complemental functional or technical expertise that augments or supports the needs of a core project team.