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Entries in Go/No Go (1)

Monday
Nov072011

Let’s have the GO/NO GO discussion

Every organization reaches a point in projects where the team stares into the abyss and decides, “are we a go or no go on this?”

Most projects reach the end and there are still incomplete items.  Often, there is a “prioritization” occurring (management speak for determining items originally envisioned as delivered and now being “slid” to another phase.)   The only project I was ever part of where this was not the case was the Year 2000 (Y2K), where apocalyptic concerns had everyone poking around their systems and making sure they were “ready.”

The question then is when to stop a roll out.  While there are metrics galore, it’s my experience informed teams have to give an objective view to a subjective topic.

Often the Project Manager and IT person meet to review status. If they are not convinced to move forward, then that’s a no go.  These leaders must believe they will be successful or they will fail.

The core functions have to be working.  All transactions must be working, without sacrificing accuracy.  If the pricing, inventory or books and records can’t be assured integrity, it’s a no go.

Reports are an interesting area, often prioritized to a latter phase.  I was once asked to help address an invoicing problem in a company where a new order management system was installed.  While the IT team insisted they were not ready, the division president declared a “go.”  The only issue was the invoice system was incomplete.  While one might think customers would be happy to not receive invoices, in fact, they were furious.  Why?  They wanted the payments in their systems for the following year’s budget exercise.

It took about a month to get invoicing up and running, and another month on the road visiting customers to calm things down.  “The company went live before they were ready.  It was an error and will not happen again.”  Customers appreciated the candor.  A cover up is worse than the crime.

So, if the key reports are available, certainly those going to customers, we can go.

Now I know some of you are saying, “If you are not sure, it’s a no go.”    The key is do you slide a date, or make an informed decision.

What other criterion do you use?