The following is an overview of the factors that can adversely impact project time line and budget and which will need to be tightly managed – these factors are raised in response to problems experienced on other projects – with effective cooperation and team work by all involved NONE of these issues should occur.
These points are raised at the outset of the project so their occurrence can be prevented.
Corresponding diligence and discipline on the part of the facilitator is equally necessary.
1. Exit of sponsor or other key person
If the project sponsor or other key person leaves the client firm or the project it is vital to pause the project and fully brief and orientate the successor before resuming work – massive problems can result if this is NOT done – this constitutes a cost that is NOT provided for in a standard budget.
2. Key person absent from workshops
If a workshop starts and a key person fails to arrive the workshop must either be paused until the person can get there (standing time applies), or cancelled (standing time applies) or it must be understood that if they miss this workshop and then attend a subsequent workshop and start raising issues any time to respond to those issues is not provided for in the project budget – continuity is vital.
Where a critical team member advises ahead of time that they cannot attend a scheduled workshop or part of a workshop for unavoidable and valid reasons the session must either be rescheduled or a suitable substitute must attend or the person concerned must understand that raising objections and changes at a subsequent meeting could result in extra time and possibly cost.
3. Critical person omitted from project team
Where it is found later in the project that a critical person was omitted from the team from the start, the time required to consult with and engage with that person and bring their inputs into the design will represent an over budget extra cost.
4. Sessions start on time
It is vital that scheduled sessions start on time – if a session starts late this may give rise to a standing time charge and may necessitate an extra session at extra cost.
5. Proceed at NOT longer than weekly intervals
Where the gaps between workshops are longer than a week both the facilitator and the client personnel start to forget where they were in the previous session with the result that start-up time for the next workshop is longer than it would otherwise be.
A gap of more than two weeks will typically result in the loss of the first hour of the next workshop.
6. May need to run into evenings
Where a project is running to a tight fixed price and / or schedule it may be necessary to run into the evening for full day or afternoon sessions in order to cover everything scheduled, there will be NO extra charge over and above the scheduled time in cases where the extension is a necessary part of reaching a conclusion.
7. Client engagement with content is critical
It is vital that client personnel engage with the content, the process and the design at all times.
If rework or further iterations are required because team members are distracted and not engaged with the process these may constitute an additional charge unless the rework or further iterations are clearly a consequence of error on the part of the facilitator.
Cell phones and email must be switched OFF during workshops.
8. Off-line checking is critical
Throughout the project off-line checking will be required.
Specifically, as each iteration of the Master Chart of Accounts is created, client personnel must take that list and tick it against the existing Chart of Accounts to make sure that all accounts are catered for and then bring a list of missing accounts to the next workshop. They must also run through the Chart of Accounts with other personnel who might have opinions about what should be covered.
If these activities do NOT take place and it proves necessary to tick the new Chart of Accounts against the old Chart in the next workshop this will be an extra-over charge relative to the budget. The same will apply if after several workshops items are suddenly identified as missing that could have been identified in earlier sessions.
Once the draft Cubic Business Model© has been generated client personnel will be requested to review this with operational personnel and bring a list of items to be added to the next workshop. If this is not done the time required to review the model in the workshop will be an extra-over charge.
Once the final Cubic Business Model© has been produced staff will be requested to map the old Chart of Accounts onto the new Chart of Accounts off-line and bring a set of mappings and a list of adjustments to the next workshop. If this is not done the time required to map the accounts will be an extra-over charge.
9. Additional iterations are sometimes really justified
Notwithstanding all the above these things CAN take longer than expected even if all parties do their best – should it become apparent that this may be happening timeous discussions with regard to budget management versus the quality of the deliverable must be initiated.
10. Where client site is more than 1 hours’ drive these issues are more of a challenge
These factors become a bigger issue where the travelling time from our offices in Johannesburg to the Client site is more than one hour either way and particularly where there are considerable travelling and accommodation costs involved – in such cases late night sessions may be required.
I hope that this outline has given some idea of the factors that need to be managed in order to comply with a tight project budget and timeline.
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Business Systems NOT delivering?
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Dr James A Robertson -- has been involved in the effective application of Business Information Systems, including but NOT limited to ERP, since 1987 and in the profitable and effective use of computers in Business since 1981.
Drawing on a diversity of experience, including formal military training in Quick Attack techniques at the Regimental Commander level, Dr Robertson has developed highly effective methods of investigating any sub-optimal Business Information Systems situation -- be it an established system or a stalled project or any other source of Executive frustration -- quickly and concisely diagnosing the root cause of the problem and prescribing concise practical actions that Business Executives can effectively act on see the Pulse Measurement page and also the Sample Reports page for redacted real reports.
He has also developed highly effective methods of strategically enriching systems to unlock the full potential of existing investments, see the Precision Configuration page and couples this to architecting small pieces of clever software that harness the full potential of your investment, see the Software page.
If you are having problems with your systems, your project or your IT Department, call The Business Systems Specialist
Business System Failure is RIFE -- we offer insight into why this happens AND WHAT is required to prevent it.
Failure is at epidemic levels with massive damage done to client companies -- if you are NOT aware of the extent of the problem please visit the About Failure page for a catalog of major failures running to billions of Pounds and Dollars.
All evidence indicates that the established players do NOT know how to deliver stable, reliable high value solutions that WORK.
There HAS to be a better way!
This website provides information relating to that way with a large collection of white papers, presentations, standards documents, etc that you can use to start bringing the situation under control
We also offer high level advisory services with regard to the application of the principles advocated on this website
We offer an ENGINEERING APPROACH to addressing these issues
By Engineering I mean the formal, structured, highly disciplined, highly systematic, highly practical approach that consistently delivers results in ALL areas of human endeavor where formally trained and certified engineers are the ONLY practitioners permitted to operate -- think large buildings, factories, motor vehicles, aircraft -- highly complex systems that work at a level that we take it for granted that they WILL work and where failure is all but unthinkable and, when it happens, attracts immediate public attention and rigorous investigation directed at ensuring that such failures are prevented in the future -- in fact, everything that the management consulting industry that implements complex software systems is NOT
This approach is discussed further on the Engineering Approach page.
In 2003 I undertook an in-depth analysis of all the information and experience that I had gathered with regard to the factors giving rise to Business Information System failure including ERP and general IT and classified this information into a number of categories including "The Factors Causing Failure" and "The Critical Factors for Success" based on this I developed a two day Course "The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success" which is still offered today.
Based on this I wrote the book of the same name, which is available in electronic form here for download:
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There is a large body of white papers, articles and other content produced by Dr James Robertson available on this website
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About Dr James A Robertson PrEng -- The Business Systems Doctor -- and Other Topics
Catalogue of Major Business Information System Failures
About the Engineering Approach
James Robertson's Value Add
Attributes of a HIGH VALUE solution
Recognizing Business System Failure
The Critical Human Foundation
Old Software IS Viable
From South Africa
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Table of Contents
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Comments relating to the Business Systems Industry and other topics
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Achieving High Value Business Information System outcomes
Executive Custody -- What is it and HOW do you get it?
The REAL Issues in Integrated Business Information System Success
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2 -- Mythology and Lack of Executive Custody
Part 3 – Strategic Alignment and Precision Configuration
Why your ERP is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it
IT Project Management
CEO Anthony Lee Comments on his experience of the Pulse Measurement
No Charge Guarantee on the Pulse Measurement Service
Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes
Critical questions regarding the Pulse Measurement™
The Pulse Measurement Workflow
The Critical Factors for Business System (ERP+) Investment Success in the Pulse Measurement
Indicative Pulse Measurement Durations
What is a JAR&A Pulse Measurement?
Survival of the fittest – why it makes sense to measure the pulse of your business
Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes over 24 years
Sample Pulse Measurement Reports
Strategic Essence: The Missing Link in Business Information Systems
Strategic Essence: Overview
Strategic Essence: Part 1 -- Strategy Defined
Strategic Essence: Part 2 -- Differentiation
Strategic Essence: Part 3 -- The Essence IS Different
Strategic Essence: Part 4 -- The Essence should be the Point of Departure
Strategic Essence: Part 5 -- Discovering Strategic Essence
Strategy -- the Essence of the Business: What is it and how do you develop actionable strategic plans?
Simple Steps to Increase the Strategic Value of your ERP Investment
Free Strategic Snapshot Toolset and Manual
A strategy focused planning system beyond traditional budgeting
Tough IT and ERP Procurement and Contracting that Works
Robust Business Systems Procurement
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The JAR&A Cubic Business Model
Highly Structured Strategic Chart of Accounts -- a Vital Element of your Corporate Information Arsenal
The Product Catalogue -- an Essential Element of any Precision Configuration
Attributes -- answers to the questions you have NOT yet thought to ask
Case Studies of Notably Successful Projects with high value Precision Configuration
092 Doing things differently and better -- ASCO Case Study 2-- BPM Summit 2013
088 Strategic ERP Invesment -- ASCO Case Study -- Service Management Conference and Exhibition Africa
026 Information Architecture and Design of FIS for Rennies Group -- Financial Information Systems Conf
018 CRM Risk Control: Designing and Implementing an Integrated Risk Mgmt Sys -- Integrated Risk Mgmt Conf
011 V3 Consulting Eng: Benefits of MIS to Professional Practice -- SAICE 15th Ann Conf on Computers in Civil Eng
Strategically Enriching your Business Information Systems
Part 2 -- Principles of Data Engineering
Part 3 -- Steps in applying these recommendations
Simple Steps to increase the strategic information value yield from your Business Systems Investment
The Full JAR&A Taxonomy Manual
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Example General Ledger Manual
Business Process -- Irrelevant, Distracting and Dangerous
The RIGHT Approach
Custom Strategic Software Design and Oversight of Construction
Standards for Custom Software Specification
What IS Software?
Critical Factors for I.T. Success
A Moral and Ethical Dilemma -- Systems that Fail
Case Studies examining Business Information System failures
The BBC Digital Media Initiative Debacle
The Bridgestone -- IBM Conflict
Speaking and Training
Showcase of Conference Presentations
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ERP and IT Procurement that Delivers Results
The Critical Factors for IT and ERP Investment Success
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Conferences 40 to 59 -- 1996 to 2005
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Contacting James A Robertson and Associates Limited