Are You Ready?
Are You Ready?
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and for a start-up company like FlowerPower.com, this would be make-or-break. Since the eCommerce Sales Manager, Bud, was bragging that his new website design was taking in thousands of pre-sales orders each day, the staff was smiling. Obviously, all was well.
But Rose, the CFO, was concerned. Bud wasn't taking into account that a new ERP system was being implemented for the company at the same time. Once it went live, would the new Financial and Supply-Chain software work as expected? The success of the company depended on accurate revenue recognition on future orders and timely order fulfillment. Customers whose Valentines did not receive their flowers until after the big day would demand a refund, and Rose would not relish processing a high volume of credits.
She called a meeting of the relevant department heads and asked her ERP Steering Committee a simple, direct question: “How do we know we are ready for full implementation, Go-Live?”
The room became so quiet you could hear a rose petal float to the floor.
"Dahlia, our new CEO, has spent the past two months telling me stories of failed ERP implementations," Rose went on. "I'd like nothing better than to prove her wrong. After all, even though we sell flowers, we are, in fact, a Tech Start-Up. So can you show me this is going to work?"
The IT manager, Jasmine, cleared her throat. "Actually, yes, I can prove it," she said. "Through this whole process we've used 'best practices' to ensure success. Let me go over the three primary tools we've used for measuring readiness." Jasmine proceeded to project on the conference room screen these three documents for Rose's review.
Testing and Training Scorecards This spreadsheet lists all of the tasks the new system is to accomplish, such as recording customer orders or creating purchase orders. Included will be the new system interfaces with other software. Those who are going to be using the new system in the future try it out in a test environment. For each task, users grade the new system with a "pass" or "fail.”. They also note the importance of the task for Go-Live. For example, the ability of the system to print checks would be critical to Go-Live. But the placement of a particular field on the screen would not be critical. The Testing and Training Scorecards are filled out by the system's “super users.” These scorecards measure the readiness of the users as well as the readiness of the system.
Open Issues Log As the name suggests, this spreadsheet culls the issues that cropped up during the testing and which landed as failed tasks on the Testing and Training Scorecard. Data here includes the issue, the person who spotted the issue, and its level of severity. Is resolution necessary before Go-Live, or can it be done after? The current status of each issue is noted and if and when it was fixed.
Readiness Review When it looks like the open issues have been resolved, management gets a chance to review the final Testing Scorecards. This usually happens a week or two before the projected Go-Live date. Department heads also check that the conversion of data from the old to the new system has been completed successfully and validated. Each department head signs off that he or she believes their department is ready to use the new system and that the system is working successfully for them in the test environment.
After viewing Jasmine's slides, Rose felt much better. The Open Issues Log showed nothing critical to postpone the Go-Live. The Readiness Review was ready to be signed. She was about to prove Dahlia, the new CEO, wrong with a successful ERP implementation.
If you would like to see examples of what Jasmine showed to Rose, we can share them with you.
Rubenstein / Justman Management Consultants (RJMC) manages projects to achieve successful completion.
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