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.