Monday, 18 January 2016

Changes On Standby

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or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy




Application software solutions are expensive aren't they?

The only thing more pricey is the cost of additional programming changes after live running has successfully started. While I would suggest that on new OJEU procurements, the functional requirements are as tight as possible, this will only take you so far. The future is notoriously hard to predict and changes are often needed for a multitude of good reasons.

The pain of justifying changes internally with budget holders, change control, ordering, authorising the PO, and issue is bad enough. Your supplier has then got to agree your amendments, schedule it, delay it a release or so, deliver, fix the buggy bits, then have you sign it off. You will have been invoiced for it by this point. Pain over. Job done you would have thought.

However, I come across more & more organisations that seem to have increasing numbers of changes like this, that are permanently held on standby. Why would you do that and what's the real cost of unwanted RFC's and not putting a lot of this stuff live?

How many examples like this, have you got in your organisation?
I come across many of these, when I ask why "Is that done manually" or "Why aren't you using that functionality", often the answer is "we paid for a change to fix/enhance that, but never switched it on".

It's essential to be sure before ordering changes, why the changes are needed & what the benefits will be. Ask yourself if you can solve the problem in a different way, before reaching for the Request For Change form. Does the change support the processes as required and are all users in the 'journey' involved, when specifying the change. Many RFC's fall down when driven just by a single dept/team, just in one part of the process journey. In many cases like this, the process as a whole may not be fully supported/accepted, possibly leading to the change never being put live.

Many RFC's are initiated by decisive or charismatic managers. In the organisation you need 'Finishers', to efficiently push these changes through to completion. Refreshing your test system, building an efficient/thorough UAT and getting this into live takes some commitment.

In addition, the time it can take suppliers, to turn a change around does not help.  It's not uncommon for me to hear of Housing Associations waiting 18 months or longer for delivery of RFC's. The worse I have seen was something I helped specify for a housing group, in December 2013, its due on the suppliers April 2016 release. A whopping 27 months! By the time that RFC is delivered, that client will have been using a workaround for at least 20 months. So in the context of that 'delivery fatigue' , it's not surprising the change never makes it live.

So, know why the RFC is important to you and what its benefits will be. Have your 'finishers' lined up. Check your delivery times with your system and application suppliers, factoring in if you need an upgrade (particularly if you are a few releases behind).

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Related Post: So, how many Ghost-Ship projects have you around the place? 

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Shed Seven - On StandbyShed Seven - On Standby.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


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