by Michel Templin
Preparation is everything

HOW DO I START A SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OR OPTIMIZATION PROJECT?


IT projects are often lengthy and carry risks. One reason for this often lies in the wrong expectations on both the client and the contractor side. We would like to show you how you as a customer can exert a positive influence on the success of a project from the very beginning and thus reduce project implementation costs.

What exactly should I have clarified before the project starts? Which tasks can I take upon without the implementation and optimization partner? What do I start with? In the following article we would like to address these questions by way of example.



AN ACTIVE PARTICIPATION - THE INTERNAL KICKOFF

The focus of your internal kickoff is the composition of a project team. Who is responsible for which areas? Who performs which function in the project?  Also define your project goals and desired results.

HAVING LOST SIGHT OF OUR GOALS, WE REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS.

—Mark Twain

It is worthwhile to create a project plan at an early stage, which also includes the first milestones. Your project team can now begin to work on the following items.



THE KEY DELIVERABLES

  • Requirements document

You record your expectations of the new IT solution in a requirements document.  Based on the target process you have defined, you can identify all the functions that the IT solution must contain. Our consulting team can support you in this process with extensive project experience. For this purpose, it is helpful to visualize the process schematically with a process flow diagram. It also makes it easier to identify future user groups. The same applies whether one or more applications are required. Should the application only be used on desktop computers or must it also be executable on mobile devices? This and similar information are the basis for the solution design and forms the basis of the requirements document. 

  • MoSCoW Assessment

Once you have identified and recorded all the required functions of the new IT solution, the next step is to determine the priority of the individual functions. A MoSCoW Assessment is suitable for this purpose. By classifying your required functions into "must haves", "should haves", „could haves" and "won't haves", development packages can be put together. For example, all functions that you have classified as "Must have" can be implemented in a first version of the solution. All further priorities follow in subsequent versions. This means that a product containing the most important functions is ready for operation after a short time. Long implementation phases can thus be divided into shorter sprints and it is possible to respond flexibly to possible changes.

  • Requirement specification / performance specification

The specification sheet is prepared by you in advance and serves to summarize and specify the requirements for our solution in detail. 

On the basis of the requirement specification we create a specification sheet which describes how the requirements from the specification sheet are implemented and solved by us.

Content and function of specifications

Content and function of specifications



ALLOCATING TASKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: THE RACI METHOD 

With the RACI method you can easily see which project participants have which responsibilities. The four categories are "Responsible", "Accountable", "Consulted" and "Informed". Roles can now be assigned to the respective project participants in a matrix.

RESPONSIBLE
are one or more persons who work on the implementation of a task or work out a target.


ACCOUNTABLE
is the person who is solely responsible for the correct and thorough execution of the delivery item or the task


CONSULTED
is registered with those whose opinion is sought (typically technical experts)


INFORMED
shall be incorporated if the person is given an update on progress

RESPONSIBLEare one or more persons who work on the implementation of a task or work out a target.
ACCOUNTABLEis the person who is solely responsible for the correct and thorough execution of the delivery item or the task
CONSULTEDis registered with those whose opinion is sought (typically technical experts)
INFORMEDshall be incorporated if the person is given an update on progress


THE LEOGISTICS PROJECT METHODOLOGY

Leogistics has developed its own project management methodology – leoprojects - on the basis of many completed customer and development projects. In leoprojects you will find parts of various project management approaches, which we have supplemented with pragmatic approaches from practical experience.

By applying the leoprojects method we can:

  • structuring the project flow,
  • Identifying risks early on and taking countermeasures,
  • which provide a valid statement of compliance with the agreed costs and
  • meet the planned implementation time.

Based on our experience in implementation projects, we have outlined a typical leogistics project course and divided it into several stages. Different project management processes are applied in these stages.

The individual project phases of the leoprojects method at a glance

The individual project stages of the leoprojects method in a nutshell.



PARTIAL AGILITY IN THE REALISATION PHASE

The involvement of the specialist department is particularly helpful if the solution is implemented in a partially agile manner during the implementation phase. Already during the requirements analysis, components of the delivery item can be classified into two categories:

  • Some requirements must be precisely specified at the beginning of the implementation phase, as they have a great influence on the final result. This applies to almost all fundamental decisions on system and process architecture, such as source and sink of information.
  • Other requirements can remain unspecified up to a certain point in the implementation. For these requirements an agile method can be useful, and the order of these requirements and their exact specification can be freely defined. Examples are the display of fields in the UI and their specification as mandatory fields and the implementation of rules.


WHERE ARE WE?

During the course of the project, regular jour fixes and team meetings can take place to discuss the current status and challenges. Additionally, weekly health checks can be scheduled and supported by the exchange of template-based status reports.  This ensures an overview of the current project status. Delays and problems can be identified in a timely manner and measures can be taken to counteract them.



REGULAR FEEDBACK TO CONFIRM THE CORRECT COURSE OF ACTION

The relevant specialist department should be involved at an early stage so that later end users are introduced to the new solution and can provide input or point out problems as early as the development stage. Demos of prototypes and playback sessions support the comprehensibility of the solution.

To monitor and visualize the progress of the project, the creation of a project plan with milestones and a KANBAN board can help. KANBAN boards display tasks as information cards in their respective degree of completion. 



PROJECT INITIATION WITH LEOGISTICS

At leogistics we look back on a long history of successful implementation projects. The leoprojects method has proven to be a very useful means of delivering projects in time and budget. In particular, the clear allocation of responsibilities and detailed requirements as part of the project contract contribute enormously to a positive atmosphere in the relationship between client and contractor. We would be happy to present our project methodology for your implementation and optimization projects in detail.

If you have any questions about this or other topics in the blog, please contact blog@leogistics.com.

Benjamin Student
Michel Templin
Consultants SAP Logistics