There are only three variables that need to be understood before a software implementation project is started:

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Functionality

These three variables have to be prioritised. Each impacts on the other. If, for example, you have a vital need for functionality that is specific to your business, then the time it will take to implement your system will be longer than a standard NAV implementation and the cost will be higher. If you must have your system implemented in a short time frame then you will have to forgo additional functionality that cannot be developed within the time available. If limiting the cost is your priority then a rapid implementation of a standard system might be the most appropriate option; once again any thoughts of additional functionality may need to be abandoned.

When Fenwick is helping a client to plan a system we get the stakeholders together and ask them to rank these three variables, one through three. Often animated discussion follows, but once we explain the logic and the reasons why these priorities have to be clear, agreed and signed off, then the client is able to sort out what is really important to them and establish a plan that will ensure a smooth implementation. Misunderstandings are minimised; expectations will be realistic; and the project risk will be considerably reduced.

Sadly, it is just not possible to have unlimited functionality, delivered in very little time, at very little cost.

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Written By Peter R Hill

Peter has been in the Information Services industry for more than forty years with broad experience covering a number of industries working in both Australia and New Zealand. He holds an MBA from LaTrobe University. For seventeen years Peter headed and was a director of the International Software Benchmarking Standards Group (ISBSG) a not-for-profit organisation with a mission of improving the performance of IT through the provision of project history data. He has served on a number of Boards of IT companies. In 2010 Peter became an non-executive director of Fenwick Software. Peter has been a speaker at conferences in Australia, Asia, Europe, Brazil and the USA.   He has had a number of articles published, covering key aspects of the Information Services industry.  He is a past Chairman, Secretary and Fellow of the Australian Computer Society. He is a member of the Committee of Management of Writers Victoria. Peter has compiled and edited five books, including: "Practical Software Project Estimation"  published by McGraw-Hill. In his leisure time, Peter enjoys motor sport and writing.

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