If you can't go Agile for CRM project, fixed-price can work

By David Taber, CIO |  Enterprise Software, agile development, CRM

Step 3: Pay Attention During the CRM Implementation

If the winning vendor is smart, it will precisely specify what it will (and won't) deliver in the Statement of Work (SOW). Any change to the SOW will probably require an ECO-each with its own price tag. This will be true even if the following happens:

  • You didn't understand the consequences of the specified deliverable. For example, the SOW might say "20 triggers and 17 workflows," but you may have no idea whether that functionality will be satisfactory to your users.
  • You discover bad assumptions, additional requirements, or plot complications-or you simply change your mind-at any time after the contract is signed.
  • All the itemized deliverables do not solve your system problem, make your users happy or achieve your business objective.

Also note that the SOW may contain a line item for an explicit number of hours of project meetings, as well as another item for project management. If meetings or your decisions/approvals take longer than the allotted time, the vendor is within its right to issue a change order.

Commentary: Why CRM Implementation Is So PoliticalMore: 5 Ways to Send a Custom Software Project Off the Rails

During serious fixed-price projects, meetings and the sequence of tasks will not be under your control. At times, it may feel like you're working for the vendor: You'll receive action items, decision deadlines and resource requests. In particular, you'll need to complete your testing before features can be fully deployed. The vendor has to be running the show if it's going to deliver on time and on budget with quality.

In other words, be prepared for the vendor to say "No" fairly often. If this all sounds a bit adversarial, it is. The vendor's fixed price commitment is to delivering only the items you put in the spec, not to making you happy.

This won't happen, though, if you prepare your team to the real requirements of fixed-price engagements. It may not be easy, but the short-term pain will result in long-term gains that make users and executives happy.

Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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