Following are the major components of the ERP Implementation Engineering Laboratory approach which is applicable to full-scale ERP implementation or re-implementation based on the Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomy and Precision Configuration models. This only applies to ERP implementation or re-implementation and NOT to data warehouse implementation:
a. A laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. (Wikipedia)
b. Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of people.
The American Engineers' Council for Professional Development has defined "engineering" as:
The creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation and safety to life and property. (Wikipedia)
c. A prototype is an early sample or model built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from. (Wikipedia)
A prototype is a carefully and professionally constructed test sample of a system that in final form is intended to be put into economic operation by the developers (Robertson)
d. Implementation is the realization of an application, or execution of a plan, idea, model, design, specification, standard, algorithm, or policy. (Wikipedia)
e. A test can be considered as a technical operation that consists of determination of one or more characteristics of a given product, process or service according to a specified procedure.
f. In software engineering, a walkthrough or walk-through is a form of software peer review "in which a designer or programmer leads members of the development team and other interested parties through a software product, and the participants ask questions and make comments about possible errors, violation of development standards, and other problems".
A walkthrough differs from software technical reviews in its openness of structure and its objective of familiarization. It differs from software inspection in its ability to suggest direct alterations to the product reviewed, its lack of a direct focus on training and process improvement, and its omission of process and product measurement. (Wikipedia)
2. Prototyping environment
The laboratory is a rigorous, carefully controlled prototyping and testing environment managed by a very senior, very practical and very detail oriented manager who clearly understands the critical role of the laboratory.
3. Representative data
The laboratory is populated with comprehensive, carefully selected representative data – perhaps 1% or even 0.1% of the data that is in the live system but representative of all possible scenarios. There are very specific principles to be applied in the selection of this data.
4. Fully equipped
The laboratory is situated in a permanently assigned, well appointed and well furnished room with five to ten high performance workstations, a high performance server, high performance backup device, data projector, flip charts, white board, etc.
5. Life of project
The laboratory is established at the very start of the project and runs until the data warehouse and business intelligence environment are fully operational.
6. Accurately model the real world
All configuration settings are tested in the laboratory until they accurately model the precise desired operation of the business and all required customization and custom development has been comprehensively and rigorously tested and accepted.
Executives and managers must be able to undertake structured facilitated walkthroughs of the laboratory configuration and see their business at all times – if it does not make sense to the CEO the process stops until the configuration has been modified so that it does make sense to the CEO.
7. Break it till it breaks no more
The primary goal of the laboratory is to break the configuration and once it cannot be broken to optimize it, document it, develop training material and CBT in it, use it as a training environment, use it for the testing of reports and establish the data warehouse operating against it.
8. Basis of go-live certificate
The configuration does NOT go-live until it has been comprehensively tested in the laboratory and accepted by all senior project team members.
The go-live certificate will be issued at the end of a structured walkthrough of the entire configuration by the entire top management of the project – this walkthrough may take several days and may have to be suspended several times for minor adjustments.
If the top team are not satisfied with the results of the walkthrough further walkthroughs, will be held until all members of the top team are willing to accept the configuration.
9. Basis of live instance
The laboratory configuration forms the basis of the live instance of the software – the entire configuration is to be copied onto the production server and rigorously tested software used to clear out all transaction data files and reset all counters – this reset software must be supplied and certified by the software vendor who shall be liable for damages should the reset software be found to be defective.
The final empty configuration will be reviewed and tested during a trial run of the start-up process in the laboratory.
The goal of the laboratory is to ensure that the final live installation is an excellent fit to the business, that all staff are properly trained at go-live and that there are no surprises and no risk to the business on go-live.
There is a more detailed version of this document at the end of this page for larger projects with a more detailed procurement process
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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.
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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.
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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
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