It is hardly surprising that non-technical people think that the work of IT practitioners is akin to some sort of black magic. You might be encouraged to learn that smoke and mirrors play no part in Fenwick’s approach to implementing software in order to deliver benefits to your business.

The majority of tasks that make up an implementation of Dynamics NAV are reasonably predictable. At Fenwick Software we collect data about every implementation that we manage. We analyse that data as part of our continuous improvement activities. What we learn from the data is that certain tasks consistently represent the same percentage of the total effort spent on the implementation. This helps with our estimating, quoting, planning and scheduling. For example, we know from the historical data that the effort involved in workshops consistently represents 20% of the total effort (of course, this does not include enhancements or additions). Once we know how many workshops we have to run for a particular implementation we can simply multiply the known effort by the number of workshops. The result provides us with a valuable guide to the total effort that will be required.

There are some tasks that are not as easy to predict (or are not under our control) and, we have learnt from our data, can vary greatly; for example: modifications; enhancements; interfaces to external systems; data conversion; and sometimes, training. But even for these tasks the results of our analysis are helpful. We can look for a past project that is similar to the one we are estimating and use its percentages as a guide.

The technical term for this is Parametric Estimating; put simply, it means that we are able to provide our customers with more certainty about the scope, cost, budget, and duration of their implementation.

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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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