If you’ve ever participated in a project to implement an enterprise-wide cloud-based technological solution, you’ve experienced the highs and lows of that effort; the fast-paced, far-reaching, all-encompassing work that requires all-hands on deck every day for months and months. Business as usual is turned on its head and everything is up for consideration.
Sometimes it feels a bit uncharted and although you may have a rock-solid project plan, and a great project team and partner, there is always some unknown variable that is likely to pop up during the process. It’s a challenge to manage the unknown.
These are 8 radical best practices that let you lay out intent and boundaries ahead of time in anticipation of these unknown variables. Consider these a type of contract between your organization and the implementation team. A type of guardrail that holds you to your path and lets you gauge the impact of forging ahead versus falling back each step of the way.
You can embrace all or just a few of these radical best practices.
#1: Have a clear vision of the future. Your future world. What improves, what becomes easier, more effective? What are the outcomes you desire? Share this vision with fellow stakeholders, and compare every decision against that future view. It makes difficult decisions easier when you can eliminate those things that don’t support the new future.
#2: Have an immovable deadline. Go-live is a pivotal moment in an implementation project. It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work and the launch of a system that will provide the business with much needed relief. You should treat that date as if it is written in stone. Show-stoppers aside, very few reasons to delay a go-live justify the additional expense and loss of momentum and engagement.
#3: Commit to an imperfect go live. All great outcomes don’t look so great in the midst of their evolution. This isn’t about accepting less than perfect – it is acknowledging that you may need to go-live in an imperfect state to ultimately achieve your ideal outcome.
#4: Hold regular weekly check-ins with your team. Take the time to engage with your project team to review project progress, manage issues before they become critical, and to check in with team members themselves. This is a great opportunity to take the measure of team members and leverage their strengths. Look for those who are thriving in the moment of great change – this can be an indication of a future project leader or a guru.
#5: Find and invest in gurus. Gurus are those who have demonstrated a natural affinity to the new solution and often coaches and teaches others. They are quick to embrace the change, and show their enthusiasm for positive outcomes. So, invest in their future, through extended training and development.
#6: Fix only the most critical issues. Focus only on severe issues and show-stoppers. Non-critical issues are aggravating, but can be resolved over time. Holding up a project’s go-live to fix every single issue can cause delays and expenses you don’t want. Your users are going to be much more forgiving of bugs if you stick to your promise and deliver a great solution on time.
#7: Agree to push custom reports to Phase II. Much like critical issues, custom reports can drag out a project unnecessarily. Use standardized reports for at least 3 to 6 months and you’ll find you have a much better idea of what custom reports you really need.
You may want to go further and challenge your users to embrace all things standardized; business processes, reports, user defined fields.
#8: Look for opportunities. In transformative projects, all sorts of opportunities will present themselves, every one unique to your organization and your transformative project. Look for times when no one is in the system to perform data migrations.
We hope that these 8 radical best practices will help you in your journey to the cloud. And we are here to help. Happy implementation!
Sandy Gorman is a Change Management and Training consultant at Apps Associate. For her, the perfect work day is being in front of a group of people, facilitating, training, and coaching them into technical submission.
And when she’s not working, you can find her on a boat in the St. Johns River.