The steps that form the Project Delivery Lifecycle can be often seen displayed as a funnel and I believe this to be an accurate representation of many ITSM Implementation projects over recent years.
ITSM Implementations are regularly deployed as a ‘Big Bang’ approach at Go Live with a waterfall methodology supporting the delivery of the project to get people there. Within the Waterfall methodology, there is the chance that the customer won’t see the product or understand what their requirements really mean until they reach the test phase of the project right at the very end.
While considerable time is spent defining requirements and building the solution, the time given to testing is often compressed. The ability work to previously estimated timelines is regularly reduced due to slippages in the work-streams that reside upstream of testing and new requirements will find their way into a non moving end date, resulting in testing having to compromise on the amount of effort put into to adequately providing testing.
This is where the funnel becomes a bottleneck. At the very end of the project, customers are taking a first look at the solution during User Acceptance Testing (UAT). This is the time where the requirements are truly validated as the users roll their sleeves up and make sense of the weeks and months of work that has gone into the solution up to this point. Quite often, there are missing requirements or even incorrectly requested requirements that need to be addressed at the last minute when time and budget is already stretched.
When working with Waterfall Methodologies, it always pays to schedule time across the project to conduct ‘Play Back’ sessions to ensure the customer understands what has been designed and built as you progress through the earlier phases of the project. Requirements and designs are therefore validated with the customer to ensure there is less change at the last minute when you are trying to ensure the solution is ready to go live.
Quite often in ITSM projects, the customer is heard to say “I didn’t understand that it would function that way” or “The supplier didn’t tell me that it functioned that way” which are evident that there has been a gap in understanding of how requirements would be met all those months previously.
Alternatively, consider delivering into the customer via an Agile approach throughout the project lifecycle and finish with a Big Bang Go Live implementation. We will discuss Agile delivery in future posts but the message to end on is to ensure your customer is engaged throughout the building of the product they are buying so testing stops blocking the project delivery funnel.