Top 10 JD Edwards Upgrade Project Mistakes

Plan proactively to avoid mistakes.

1.LACK OF SENIOR MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT AND INVOLVEMENT

Commitment and involvement of senior management in the upgrade is key to successfully maintaining focus on the task at hand and acquiring the required resources. Without the commitment and involvement of senior management, the projects seldom accomplish desired outcome.

Solution: Establish a steering committee and a formal project structure. Establish regular reporting, monthly steering committee meetings, and involve them in all key milestone activities and deliverable reviews.

2.INEFFECTIVE ORGANIZATION AND PLANNING

Trying to execute the upgrade as an ad-hoc set of activities, not as a formal project – often ends in a substandard final outcome. Executing an upgrade without a strategy and plan – leads to false starts and surprises (timeline, costs, quality) down the road.

Solution: Establish formal project with formal reporting. Organize project into distinct phases or sub projects with clearly defined deliverables and milestones. Plan Early and Plan Often. Establish strategy, methodology and communicate to all stakeholders often.

3.POOR UPFRONT RESEARCH

Insufficient upfront research often leads to unpleasant surprises. These technical and functional surprises frustrate executive management and lead to second guessing the Solution. Project outsiders perceive continued changes to scope caused by poor upfront research as simple scope creep. This often carries a significant negative impact on the project management’s credibility to say nothing of the project timeline and budget.

Solution: Identify the unknowns early and convert them to knowns that can be planned around. Establishing a plan that addresses these unknowns and preventing them from becoming risks would help you sail smoothly through your upgrade.

4.SCOPE DEFINITION

Allowing the scope of an upgrade to include significant new functionality deployment will cause an upgrade project to change into an implementation project.

Solution: Keep upgrade scope tight, perform technical upgrade and include only absolutely required functionality.
Articulate what will be performed as part of the project along with the required time, resources and scope. Stakeholders often receive a bad surprise when they assume a certain item is in scope. To combat these assumptions, explicitly communicate with stakeholders what WILL NOT BE included in the project.

5.SCOPE LEAK, SCOPE CREEP AND INEFFECTIVE SCOPE MANAGEMENT

Lack of disciplined scope management allows good ideas to become project show stoppers. The intentions behind these ideas may be very good, but such ideas may increase project risks (timeline, cost, quality and resource).

Solution: Assign a strong project manager who knows how to control the scope. Establish scope management plan and change control plan early. Involve senior stakeholders and steering committee in approving any scope changes.

6.LACK OF FOCUS

Not having adequate organizational focus on the upgrade is a key reason that project timelines slip. In today’s business environment, the number of distractions for the project team are growing.

Solution: Formalizing the project team, deliverables and timeline and gaining executive support for these are key to maintaining focus.

7.INCOMPLETE TESTING

Lack of proper testing approach and test plans to thoroughly test the new release end-to-end often results in major Go-Live event issues. Nothing frustrates users more than seeing something that used to work stop working after an upgrade is completed.

Solution: Dust off your test scripts, enhance them if necessary and use them to test your system. Perform thorough end-to-end business process testing including interfaces. Include business users in all your testing. Conduct formal acceptance tests.Get their time commitment to participate in these tests.

8.CHANGE MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION

Trivializing impact of change from the new release on the stakeholders.

Solution: Poor Change management is often the leading cause of any system implementation failure.
Any change is a 'change'. It must be carefully managed and communicated to stakeholders.

9.FORGOTTEN POST UPGRADE PLANNED INITIATIVES

Sub-projects that have been planned after completing upgrade to review and deploy new functionality are sometimes forgotten.

Solution: Identify post upgrade opportunities as part of the upgrade plan, and validate them throughout the upgrade process. Upon completion of the upgrade prioritize and execute the post upgrade initiatives.

10.NEGLECTING PRIOR LESSONS LEARNED

History does not have to repeat itself. Unfortunately, it often does.

Solution: Review previous project and see where they succeeded and failed. Adapt their success and plan to mitigate their failures.