7 Tips for Implementing or Migrating to a New Tooling Solution

Going through the process to implement or migrate to a new tooling solution can sometimes be a rollercoaster from start to finish. Every stakeholder involved will have a different set of requirements which can result in no single method being used on how to deliver the project correctly.  As an experienced Solution Architect with first-hand experience on many tooling implementations and migrations, I believe there are a few fundamentals every organisation needs to think about before they embark on this journey.

Below are my top 7 tips on what to consider when looking to implement or migrate to a new tooling solution. By considering these, you will be on the way to ensure the project runs smoothly, on time and within budget, and will ultimately pave the way to a successful delivery for your business and stakeholders.

  1. Know your Requirements and Processes

Defined requirements and processes are the key foundations to any successful delivery.

  • Knowing your functional and non-functional requirements and understanding your processes define the outcomes to which the project will be delivered.
  • Document your requirements then rationalise them against the business need. Any requirements should be clearly defined with no ambiguity.
  • Ensure that your processes are documented and that you understand them. Do not assume your current processes are optimal. Embrace change and use this opportunity to improve and optimise against the tooling being implemented/migrated.
  • Once requirements are defined and prioritised and processes are agreed, avoid changing them. Changes mid-project are a major factor in late delivery.  If change is required, the impact to the project must be assessed even if the actual change is minor.  Lots of minor changes accumulate to the equivalent of a major change.
  1. Consider your Business Outputs

KPIs and reporting are business outputs which are key success factors for any project once the system is live.  Defining the business outputs in the beginning will ensure that they can be achieved once the project has been delivered.  If the business outputs are not considered delays to the project are inevitable.

  1. Plan for Success

Plan for success not failure. A well-planned project will reap its own rewards with a project that is delivered on time and within budget.  Ensure:

  • stakeholders have the power to make decisions to accelerate the process. If they don’t the project will extend.
  • that any sign-off is done within the project timescales. Delays in sign-off will push the project timescales as sign-off/approval is required to continue to the next gate.
  • that resources are made available to meet the project time scales
  • that the dependencies are known and ensure they are provided within the timescales set out in the project plan
  • that the project plan is reviewed regularly with all parties involved
  1. Involve Key Users

Consider that management DO NOT always know best.

  • Empower and involve key users of the current tooling from the beginning. Management should not be the only ones involved in shaping the new solution. These key users will bring a perspective that may not have considered and will know what is best especially when it comes to using the tools alongside the processes that are defined or being defined.
  • Key user involvement also gives the project a comfort factor that the users’ have been considered and will make the transition and adoption smoother. If the key users are not involved by the time the users have been introduced, it is too late.
  1. Do Not Underestimate Testing, IT IS IMPORTANT!
  • Clearly define the test strategy and test plan at the beginning of the project so that it can align with the project delivery.
  • Underestimating the importance and effort required for user acceptance testing will lead to issues once the system has transitioned and in live operation.
  • Allocate enough time to thoroughly test all the functional and non-functional requirements against the agreed processes and the business outcomes that have been identified.
  • The testing provided by the technical project team ensures that the technology is aligned against the functional requirements but is not intended to be exhaustive or against the business processes.
  1. Collaborate

All parties working together.

Every implementation/migration has at least two parties working together to deliver a common goal. Collaboration between these parties is an important factor to make sure that all parties converge at the same time.  Any project can have its ups and downs; working independently means other parties are not aware of any changes in circumstance that will cause the project timeline to shift to the left or right.

  1. Training

It is not possible to involve all users during the project, business as usual activity must continue.  Training material and training sessions should be made available to all users to ensure that they understand the new tooling.  If possible, the trainer sessions should be provided for key users involved in the project.  These key users can then provide the necessary guidance to the other users before go-live, during the go-live and after go-live.

Lee Rawden
Solution Architect
Fusion Global Business Solutions

By Daniel Swann