Now is the time to put all of the steps we learned during the previous weeks into a cohesive plan that will serve as the guide for your upgrade project.
This chapter outlines elements to consider when creating your plan that will help make your project a success with an emphasis on practical tips and lessons learned.
What’s in a project plan?
Now that you have a better understanding of your future Dynamics NAV solution and the best path for getting there, it’s necessary to put this plan on paper in order that everyone is operating under a shared agenda. The best way to do this is by developing a project charter that outlines the objectives, scope, and participants in the project.
Of critical importance, the upgrade project charter also needs to address the following key areas:
Your upgrade project is touching a lot of moving parts. How can you ensure that everyone stays on the same page? As a baseline, we recommend incorporating the following into your upgrade plan:
- Project Management Meetings
-> Bi-weekly meetings between all project managers (on the client and partner side). These meetings will cover any immediate risks/ issues, scheduled activities, approval and any other project related items that may arise.
- Status Meetings
-> Your implementation team (typically, a Microsoft partner) should hold, at a minimum, bi-weekly meetings to discuss, in detail, each area of the project.
- A Policy for Ad-hoc Communications
-> Develop a policy to ensure that all communications regarding the project are logged and visible to the project manager. This would include any inquiries in person, over the phone, or over email.
To be honest, we know that an upgrade means change, and change is hard for people and organizations. Acknowledge that this will be true, but look for ways to build excitement and anticipation based on the features the upgrade will provide such as time savings and automation. Old habits and routines are hard to break and your staff will need incentives to be committed to changes and adopt changes.
Who needs to be trained on the new system and what approach will you take?
- Train the trainer – This is when key stakeholders or department heads are trained by system implementers. These stakeholders will become subject matter experts that are capable of training other users for go-live.
- End-user training – This can be completed by key stakeholders mentioned above or by your Microsoft partner.
User Acceptance Testing
Finally, before going live, it is necessary to introduce your users to the testing processes and procedures that will guide your implementation. Plan and discuss which representatives from the user teams will be involved, what they will test and how they will perform the testing.
Even though it can be a struggle to get users to test scenarios thoroughly (especially because this work is on top of their regular jobs!), this is a critical step in your upgrade success. This is even more important if you are implementing a lot of new features or a new interface that is not familiar to users. Make sure that department managers – not just the project managers – take a interest and hold users accountable for testing.