So you have finally started the project. The money is approved, the products and consultants have been located, the contract has been let and you are already part way through your awareness program. Failure in reliability and asset management programs is often traceable to key decisions that were made either during the sales cycle or within the first days of implementation. So here are some tips that may help you to avoid some of the common pitfalls during this period and ensure your project continues with the same level of corporate enthusiasm that it had when it was pitched at senior management. 1. Make sure that mobilization time frames are agreed and understood Get this right! Whatever you do make sure you get this one right! Empty seats scream non-commitment by the consultant - regardless of the true intention. Misaligned expectations about who will be on site when and what they will be doing will put everyone on the wrong foot right from the beginning! 2. For technology projects - make sure that everyone understands the full capabilities and limitations of the product. I have seen so many EAM projects where the client, led by a consultant organization, charges straight into the process of defining the solution requirements, work processes and data flows. Sometimes the consultants leading this exercise do not even understand the functional capabilities of the system they are designing processes for!! In fact, this line of thinking was in vogue at the turn of the century! And the result? Processes do not align with functions, clients are now determined to implement the processes they have worked so hard to define, the system will need to be changed, the budget gets blown and the business relationship gets off on the wrong foot. The Solution? Take a representative group from within the key users, and train them rigorously in the functions of the product. Make sure they understand what it can and cannot do and then get them to participate in defining the work processes and data flows. The benefits? 9 times out of 10 the system will introduce them to new and different ways of doing things that they were not considering earlier, ,they start to work down the path with a full knowledge of what can be done and what will require a change, and at the same time they get to start developing an appreciation for the technological solution. 3. Formally agree the solution requirements for technology projects. Amazing isn't it? 20 years into the technology revolution and Enterprise level projects still try to carry out implementations without this step. Just for the record there are three steps to defining solutions: (After detailed awareness training)
- Define the Solution Requirements - determine what the business needs from the system and document this.
- Define the Business Solution Design - determine how the system will be configured and implemented in order to meet with the requirements.
- Define the User changes that are going to be needed in order to comply fully with the requirements.