On time, on budget, on spec

If these are your goals, you need to ensure the project is properly managed. The people involved in the trenches of a new project, whether working for a client or the implementation partner, are often too deeply involved to keep track of these three objectives.

It usually takes a third person who can work for the client, the implementation partner or a third party, to properly manage the project so these objectives are kept in the front of everyone’s minds.

Project management is much more than the creation of a pretty Microsoft Project Plan that gets pinned on a wall so the project team can point it out to management. It is an attitude of discipline and attention to detail that must be fused
into the implementation project.

Scope creep is the greatest enemy of a Dynamics NAV implementation project. The software is so flexible that once the project begins and the project team sees the potential of what can be done that they often push for increases to the scope of the project. This can be a problem.

If the requirements gathering has been done properly at the beginning of the project, the correct scope should have been identified for the first phase of the project. Any changes to the scope that affect the delivery time by more than one or two weeks, increase the budget by more than five percent, or miss critical areas of required functionality should be identified as soon as possible by the project team and discussed with the executive or project sponsor.

The best strategy is often to break these additional requests for changes to the scope into future phases, where they can be managed by their own budget and timeline.

It is our belief that an experienced project manager who is not involved in the implementation of the system is best suited to ensure scope is properly controlled and a project is efficiently delivered.

An important point to remember is that it takes both the knowledge of the business that comes from the client staff and the project implementation experience of the implementation partner. Both are necessary and this should be kept in mind, if and when disagreements arise.