Mission-critical software will always be updated by the vendor; generally, updates are released every other year.
The first decision an organization must make is whether to invest in the new release. Often, software vendors will allow customers to skip a release or two, due to the burdens an update can put on internal resources.
If your organization is planning to accept that new release, here are five tips for getting ready:
- Plan for the project to take longer than the timeframe the vendor provides. They aren’t misleading you, but they can’t predict the availability of your internal resources. If the vendor suggests four to six months, plan for six months. It will increase the likelihood of success.
- Decide whether your new release update will be “like for like” or if you’ll be expanding the functionality of the software during the update. This decision will impact every aspect of the project, so define the boundaries of the project first.
- Review the existing test cases from the previous releases and confirm the current and new test cases that will apply to this release. This will help you in defining requirements for the project and with allocating resources for testing as the project progresses.
- Does the system have customizations? If it is, take the time up front to identify all the test cases that must be customized to match. Customizations have to be mapped to the new release and will impact the requirements, the schedule and the testing.
- Keep good records of both the applicable test cases and the customizations you require. They will help you prepare for requirements and testing for this release, but those test cases and customizations will apply to the next release as well.
Effective project management is both an art and a science. It requires training and experience, but it also requires bandwidth. If your internal team is already overloaded, the likelihood of successfully managing a software update project that finishes on time and on budget is low. On-demand project management (we call it PMaaS – Project Management as a Service) gives organizations a path to success without a major hit to the budget or operations.
Schedule a chat with Missy Pitcher. She loves to talk strategy, risk and rewards related to project management.
BDM Squared has extensive experience with top-tier, mission-critical software vendors. Here are some of the most popular: Cayenta, SilverBlaze, CBN, Microsoft Dynamics GP, SAP, IPort, Smartsheet, Eauthority, SAP SuccessFactors, Microsoft Dynamics 365, IBM Maximo, Avaya, and Blue Bison.
BDM Squared is a boutique management consulting firm providing project management and business process improvement on demand. Our mission: help our clients deliver their projects on time and on budget every time. Our edge: real-time access to our constantly updated, comprehensive project dashboard. At any point in the project, know that you’ll have access to every detail – every document – every resource being managed for your benefit.