As companies make the transition from small to mid-size it represents a unique requirement and opportunity to mature, evolve and standardize their systems and processes. Over the years, with experience in different parts of the business including IT, I've learned to appreciate how ERP projects can be the catalyst that helps transform organizations and take them to the next level. As you know, the change associated with an ERP project can be significant. Yet, if managed well, can also be the turning point that companies need at this point in their evolution and maturity.
Managing a SAAS / cloud implementation is different from new software development and from software upgrade and maintenance projects. There are certain things to be aware of and to manage differently to ensure success.
If you are involved with an initiative early on, prior to the Statement of Work (SOW) being signed and even as early as part of the RFI / RFP process, you may want to consider aspects beyond software functionality when comparing providers, such as the level of documentation, testing, integration options, and performance. Involving other project specialists in the process early can yield even greater returns. A test lead may point out concerns around how defects will be handled after go-live, a system architect may ask if the solution integrates with your ERP, and a business analyst may ask how certain non-functional requirements, such as availability, are met.
The following narrative is not my first Office 365 migration as a Project Manager. Having been involved in an initiative as complex as moving from on-premise Lotus Notes to Office 365 Exchange online, I thought I was ready for any other type of email migration, however complex. I’ll admit I even thought that moving from on-premise Exchange to Office 365 would be a breeze. But technology is not that straightforward, because it is always dependent on user and stakeholder needs. I knew that, but I got a stern reminder in this recent project.
Office 365 is a suite of products. Most companies make the move to stop managing in-house Exchange and transition to a subscription-based model which is budget friendly. But it also brings a plethora of applications and features, Skype for Business and OneDrive for Business being the most sought after to some lesser known like Yammer, Sway, Teams or Planner.
When Lewis Fowler assigned me to a project in a local government agency, the scope encompassed implementing almost the entire Office 365 suite with an Exchange migration, the Office 2016 suite deployment with Windows 10 and the rollout of OneDrive and Skype for Business. Additionally, if a user need would justify it, we could also introduce other features from the growing list of Office 365 apps.Seemed straightforward at first, but it sure came with a lot of difficulties…
I was excited for the opportunity to be involved in leading our client’s Infrastructure team in their agile effort, which is what led me to the CST class. The manager had heard stories of the gains in productivity from teams on the Application Development side of their business' Technology Services, and wanted the same for his team. Both of us had a foundational understanding of Agile, but we would be the first team on the Infrastructure division side of the house to implement some form of Agile, so while we had plenty of experience to reflect upon from the AppDev side of the business, it quickly became obvious we weren’t really tapped into the cultural change that appears to be happening across the fence.
As part of our preparation I attended the Scrum Alliance Certified Master Training (CST), and having exposure to the agile happening around me, I can say that understanding Scrum is fairly straightforward. A Scrum Team consists of a Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Development Team. The Product Owner uses a Backlog to collect, prioritize, and manage the team work. A Sprint is the duration of time, usually 2-4 weeks in length, where the Development Team devotes it’s time to accomplishing the work the team pulls from the Backlog.