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Tuesday, 06 October 2009 12:24

How to make a software roll-out fail, part 5

Rolling out a major project (ERP for instance) requires that a lot of complex factors are brought together harmoniously.  However, such a project can be brought down by more mundane choices; here's some further commentary.

I have written in the past about the "New Era" project which supposedly went live today.  Unfortunately, everyone is still frantically scrambling to bring it all together...

First was the declaration that a show-stopper bug process was discovered late last night.  This has now been partially addressed.  However, a business-process bug?  This late??

Next was the glowing announcement from management that yesterday's go-live in New Zealand was a roaring success.  Odd that when one of my colleagues spoke to an associate in New Zealand, the response was "we've been told not to use it."

Initially this morning, it was announced that the pre-identified 'power users' would be the first to login and check that the functionality was present and to enter in some of the most urgent sales orders as a test.  Next we hear that they should hold off.  Then we are told that even if it was working; only a few users at a time would be allowed on-line for "bandwidth" reasons.  Bandwidth?  Huh???

As the day progressed the bleeding-edgers discovered more and more issues.  Most of which have been escalated to "head office."

So, what's the failure mode this time?  Simply that the confidence of the prospective users is severely dented when the hype and noise from the project proponents is not born out by the reality.  The team has been promised an on-time working system; after all, the sales people have had to stop all incoming orders for two weeks to facilitate the launch; that hurts their bottom line.

Readers will however be pleased to know that this afternoon's launch party went ahead as planned, but the effusive praise of the new system (and the implementation team) was conspicuous in its absence!

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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