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The Resource Group

Steps to Ensure a Successful Implementation of Microsoft Dynamics GP

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By Mike Hancock, Project Manager, The Resource Group

During my years of managing software implementations and my study of project management methodologies, such as Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Methodology, several key attributes of successful implementation projects have surfaced over and over again.   To get your software implementation project off to a successful start and to help insure the overall success of the project, I suggest the following steps to ensure a successful implementation of Microsoft Dynamics GP:

  • Determine the objectives for the project, in terms of business value. This should be done prior to selecting a solution, or at the very beginning of the project. This will provide the ability to keep focus during the project, minimize scope creep, and provide a way to measure results after the project is complete.
  • Enlist upper management support for the project – enthusiastic support from the leaders of the company is critical to the overall success of the project.
  • Define responsibilities clearly within the organization and, among those, identify an internal Executive Sponsor and a Project Manager/Coordinator.
  • Identify subject matter experts and involve them from the start.
  • Thoroughly assess and document business processes, agree upon and, if possible, document process changes prior to implementing new software.
  • As you evaluate software products, map business requirements to software functionality to assess the degree of fit prior to making a purchase decision.
  • Choose a solid implementation partner for the project.   Avoid too much focus on the lowest cost provider and instead, focus on an organization with a proven track record, methodology and experienced staff.  One which is highly regarded by the software publisher and businesses / clients that have experience with the organization.
  • Plan for organizational change when implementing new software, especially changes which may significantly impact business processes and/or organizational structure.   Sometimes investing in organizational change consulting, to identify and deal with the changes, may be well justified.
  • Avoid imposing artificial deadlines on the project, such as failing to adjust the expected “go-live” date in synch with a prolonged decision-making time frame.   Unreasonable deadlines lead to organizational stress, haste, rework and general inefficiency.
  • As the project progresses, avoid “scope creep”, requirements / process changes that may divert, derail or increase cost and timeframe for the project.  Decide what is most important for the “go-live” version, stick with it and then implement any worthy changes in a second phase.
  • Celebrate success

by Mike Hancock, Project Manager, The Resource Group – Seattle, Washington Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner

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