Like filling out a March Madness bracket, preparing for a project can often feel just as harried and uncertain as that last-minute decision to put your favorite team in the Final Four. To top it off, the boss wants to get moving on the project right away, so where do you begin? What essentials should be addressed to help stakeholders understand the scope of the project, and what details need to be included to ensure proper execution?
Make your life easier and take 5 simple steps.
By doing so, your internal team will not only be able to communicate a comprehensive vision of a project, but will also have the necessary foundation for conveying to vendors specific requirements, greatly increasing the likelihood of success.
Step up to the free throw line to learn more.
1. Define project goals
- Have clearly defined goals and expected results so all team members are on the same page. Goals should be measurable with an accurate baseline by which to evaluate success or failure. An example of a good goal is: increase productivity by at least 5%.
- What tools are you planning on using to achieve these goals? If you have plans for additional infrastructure or system changes, share this information with your vendor. If they understand your vision and have all the information, the system integration and processes will benefit.
2. Document Requirements
- What does the system need to do, and what tools should the vendor be aware of or need experience with? Examples could be throughput rates or ability to handle certain box sizes.
- Flow chart or written description of proposed operations.
- An understanding of impact (if any) to other software systems in place.
- Involve associates from all areas of your operation. It’s just as important to have the perspective of c-level personnel as it is to have input from personnel who interact with the system every day.
3. Evaluate impact to existing operations
- How will current processes change?
- Will operator jobs and tasks change?
- Will there need to be an interim process during installation?
- Determine a reasonable balance between cost, time, and acceptable risk.
4. Set an adequate budget and schedule
- Be realistic –shorter schedules can mean an increase to cost with higher risks
- Budget for overtime and additional shift work, and the cost of running multiple systems during the testing phase.
- Include contingency in your request for funds – something may change, something may be forgotten.
- Don’t shortcut testing and training time costs
5. Develop an implementation plan
- Will implementation be in an existing facility with current operations that need to keep running or will it be a new greenfield site?
- What steps need to be taken during transition?
- Will employees need to be hired?
- Get input from all groups impacted – IT, Operations to consider all potential impacts
- Test, test, and test again. Consider implementing the system on a small scale first to catch any potential issues that won’t affect your entire system.