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Described herein is an explanation of why you need a project plan and someone to manage it (a project manager), examples of what can go wrong if you skip this step, and our outline of the ten phases generally included in a Dynamics GP project plan, so you understand what you are really paying for.
What is a project plan?
The goal of a project plan and project management is to identify and plan and track all the steps necessary to make your Dynamics GP implementation is successful. It provides the ability to monitor what's going on at each step and know whether the project is on target from both a time and budget perspective.
Also, a project plan makes sure that all the players (commonly referred to as the stakeholders), including both the customer internal team and the Dynamics GP partner team, are on the same page and how the project is progressing. Highlights of whether the project is ahead or behind schedule and over or under budget are also easily identified.
What is a project plan versus a task list?
It is very common to start doing the tasks required in an implementation without establishing a complete project plan. Sometimes a simple task list is created thinking this is the project plan. However a proper project plan identifies and categorizes tasks and milestones into groups or phases, identifying the proper resources needed for a task or group, provides timeframes and effort required, and tracks the status of each individual task within the plan.
Can’t you just reuse an old project plan?
While there are common tasks associated with every Dynamics GP implementation, each project is unique. For example, which internal resources are available to work on the project? Will all users be trained or do you prefer a “train the trainer” approach? Will you perform the testing or have your partner do it? Will you be bringing in data from other systems. Do you have customized reports you simply must have? These questions can only be answered by a thorough discovery of your project, which leads to a comprehensive project plan.
What can happen without a project plan?
Without a project plan it’s very difficult to adhere to timelines and budgetary constraints. For example, it becomes difficult to manage or track resource allocations and identify or account for things like vacations or resource time which may not be available. This can jeopardize critical tasks being completed on time which may affect the overall project timeline and budget. Without a detailed project plan, the timeline and budget for a Dynamics GP implementation is just an educated guess.
With a well established project plan you can determine exactly how many tasks need to done, how long each task is going to take, and calculate the cost for each task and therefore, the overall project. The project manager can quickly see if tasks are taking longer than anticipated or if additional tasks have been added (a phenomenon called scope creep) allowing for proper adjustments to be made.
Who is happy when a project goes over budget?
Going over budget is not good for anyone. You may think that your partner will be happy to exceed the budget, since they will be making more money. You could even start to think they are doing it on purpose. Unless you have chosen a dishonest Dynamics GP partner, this is not true. Going over budget is very frustrating to the Dynamics GP partner as they are typically held accountable to fix it. The consultants working on the project don’t want to work with unhappy customers or write off time which impacts their profitability. Bottom line, if Dynamics GP projects go over time or over budget, nobody is happy.
What is the solution?
The solution is to develop a detailed project plan and manage to it. A comprehensive plan “ties” everything up into a nice neat package with tasks, resources, timeframes and costs that everyone has agreed upon. Good project management does cost but it is well worth the time and money it will save later on.
What phases are actually included in a Dynamics GP project plan?
Read the next post: 10 Phases Included in a Dynamics GP Implementation Project Plan.
If you are evaluating Microsoft Dynamics GP and want a partner that will stick to a solid project plan to finish your project on time and on budget, contact CAL Business Solutions. 860-485-0910 x4 or [email protected]
“CAL had a great project plan and structured approach and worked well with us as a team during a stressful time period for our company.” Gary Blanchette, Vice President,
“CAL Business Solutions absolutely had the project done on time and on budget and it worked out perfectly.” Chris Masi, CFO,
By Steve Brown, CAL Business Solutions, Connecticut/Massachusetts Microsoft Dynamics GP partner,