Most software engineers believe that implementing a software, no matter how big, is as simple as 1-2-3:

  1. Install
  2. Train
  3. Leave

However, that view is unidimensional. It fails to take into account that there are multiple parties involved in implementation of business software, not just engineers. There are few other non-engineering aspects which need to be covered:

  • Gantt chart
    Picture by Garry Booker

    the most important part is that the consulting company needs to ensure they can bill for implementation services rendered. And for long implementation projects, service delivery has to be divided into few distincts stages so that progress billing is possible, thus smoothing the cash flow

  • to be able to perform progress billing, formal sign off document of each delivery stage must be presented as legally defensible document
  • accounting standards for revenue recognition stipulate that it be recognised even as project is being partially completed. The consulting companies are allowed to do this so long as the partial recognition is backed up by strong evidence. Sign off document for project stages, for example
  • the breaking down of implementation into stages, along with its resource assignment, ensures that each involved person know his/her responsibility. This applies for the consulting team, the client team, as well as any third parties that may be involved in the project
  • by separating big projects into multiple mile stones, the consulting company reduces the risk of project failure to manageable chunks
  • by allocating consultants only to stages where they are required, the consulting company can spread the costs to multiple concurrently running projects
  • proper resource, scope, and budgetary control of each stage of implementation project helps maintain profitability of the implementation project. When carefully executed, the consulting company can reasonably know ahead of time whether it’s going to hit or miss the profit target of each project

To come up with a perfect implementation methodology is not so easy. Each company may have different approach to this, for example:

  • Baan used to have Baan Target implementation methodology
  • Oracle names theirs AIM for Application Implementation Methodology
  • SAP‘s methodology is called Accelerated SAP or ASAP in short

The above are examples of some of the better made implementation methodologies. Information on them abound on the internet. Consulting companies can glean clues from these and formulate their own implementation methodology

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