Business Process Improvement

Implementation Audit

The question is, what can we do about a project that we feel is in trouble. What currently happens, is things get so bad that the business take steps to bring in another implementation partner. This many times solves the problem, but has almost as much chance of ending up in the same place. This also carries a large price tag. You cannot expect another partner to jump in the middle of this with no duplication of efforts. A company makes a large investment in educating the implementation partner. It is important to protect that investment if possible.

The question then becomes, what can be done to solve the problem. The first step to fixing any problem is to clearly identify the problem. One way of doing this, is to bring in an independent party to audit the implementation process. We call this process, and Implementation Audit. The purpose of this audit is to review the current implementation, identify specific issues, and recommend process for getting the implementation back on track. The advantage of this is you have a clear unbiased view of where you were at. This will also give you visibility on how to proceed and what it’s going to take to get there. The following includes specific aspects of an implementation audit:

  1. Implementation roadmap – it is important to understand where you have been, where you’re at, and what needs done to get to the finish line. We cannot change from the past, but we can at least learn from it. It is important understand how the project has been executed within the initial budgetary considerations. What has been authorized in addition and where does it stand.  The most important is to put together a roadmap that identifies the most effective path forward and how we can keep from falling into the same traps. It is both a planning process in an educational process.
  2. Review of outstanding issues – it is important to understand the true challenges that the team is faced with. Part of the process is to recognize the priority of the issues and understand the impact on the project timeline. Something that is a contributing factor to the critical path must be dealt with as a priority. It also is important understand there is a difference between a want and a need. It is important understand the requirements and the justification of issues. It is also important to mitigate these issues quickly and efficiently. These are the outliers that drive additional costs and threaten project timelines. Here somebody’s are the only ways I yeah okay here’s where all you get you more shells I think we got one I yeah so okay yeah we as is a close okay no electrician here these lights are one okay so all I
  3. Review of business model – The quality of the business model is one of the best indications of the effectiveness of the implementation team. A poor quality or non-representative business model is the strongest  indication of the dysfunctional implementation process. It should be the basis of the process modeling to drive companies acceptance of the process. Without this you just have a series of conversations and hopefully documentation.
  4. Review of budget – We must clearly understand the initial budgetary commitment and the impact that change orders have on the budget commitment itself. In must be clearly understood, they going forward budget visibility and adherence to agreed-upon changes that affect cost must be in place. This also requires a regularly scheduled budget review and reporting against short-term schedules.
  5. Short-term planning – Review of short-term planning and its impact on project timeline and cost. It is important that consultants come prepared to accomplish certain short-term tasks. These have should have a projected costs so we can identify completion of task and cost over runs. It should include what is planned for the next two weeks, what was completed in the past week, and what are the mitigating factors or concerns moving  forward.
  6. Development review – In the customizations are major cost driver and an ongoing cost long-term maintenance, it is important understand these individual elements. Many of the things that must be understood is the true risk of the special needs. Customizations are always justified for required functionality that is strategic to the business process. There are also integrations to known entities that must be preserved. The remainder need to be evaluated for cost justification. These include anything that improves efficiency or quality of process.
  7. Audit report – This process culminates in a detailed audit report. The audit report will identify project status and process concerns.  It will itemize these and recommend corrective actions. These recommendations will include any threat that could impact successful project completion. It will also provide as a roadmap to getting things on track.

It is important the individual auditor is unbiased in their review. It is not the responsibility of this process to assign blame or identify individuals at fault. We must try to build cohesiveness within the process. It is our experience that partners want very much to do a good job. It is interesting how a very good partner and have great implementations and also have implementations with problems. There are many contributing factors but in general one of the biggest is who you end up on your specific implementation team. Having said that it’s very important we work collectively together to build cohesive relationships, identification of critical issues, and build and agreed-upon path moving forward.