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A question I am asked a lot, generally but not always after procurement, is should our implementation be phased or big bang?
As this question generally relates to large integrated housing management systems, the first thought is often, lets phase it. Reality is for me, is that most projects of these kind I have been involved in, have taken a big bang path. So how can we be sure that works well and what re the pros and cons of the different options, if most solution suppliers prefer a big bang?
An initial multiple module, strategy definition exercise, is a good idea, in order to ensure all staff and the project team have their expectations set as early as practically possible.
Some of the key questions relate to your type of organisation, is it simple, complicated, spread across a few locations or companies in a group structure. Also attitude to risk, something that must be considered and addressed early What resources are available, is there a big or minimal implementation team? Are there some competing business needs, which could be expected to clash with the change project?
Phasing an implementation generally will be costlier as they inevitably will take much longer to fully accomplish. Your project team will need to put in more time, as will your supplier, burning up more on-site days. I always bank on estimating three times your supplier days, on projects. Many of my clients balk at this, however most agree at the end that the estimate was not so far off.
If we do choose big bang, it is crucial that all system inter-dependences are thoroughly checked, tested and signed off, way before and as a formal precursor to go-live. Where a phased approach is utilised, expect some temporary interfaces to be needed for some months, between phases. This is something that introduces additional costs and the need to test more than once, through the lifecycle of the project.
Although in socialhousing systems, many interdependences between rents, CRM, assets & repairs point to a big bang approach being easier, if these form a single phase and maybe a second logical one with Service Charges/Factoring, Case Management and Planned/Cyclical modules, this can be a very successful approach. As can be imagined, I see various mixes of modules being replaced, some organisations including DLO/Contractor and Finance systems in the mix too. Feel free to comment or DM me about your particular project mix or your lessons learned.
Related Post: Why is KPI reporting from our integrated systems so poor?
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(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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