There are a wealth of tools out there in the Project Management world to help Project Teams and Managers to control and deliver a successful outcome. This blog is not designed to cover all of those but I’ll aim to provide some key things to consider when a Maximo Project is being planned or is underway.
Know what it is you are delivering
As with any Project, the first key to success is Scope. What is it you are aiming to achieve? Is it a Business Project, for example implementing not only a new system, but a revised set of Business Procedures? Or is it a Technical Project, perhaps upgrading to Maximo 7.6? Either way, knowing this and defining it up front is worth it. Make sure this is clearly communicated throughout the Project Stakeholders and the Project Supply Chain.
Business Projects will have a different focus. The key is to involve key business users, understand what they require and what they need it to perform. The best outcomes of such projects are when business users have been and also want to be involved at each stage of the project.
Technical Projects could be considered to have minimal impact on the users, other than they might see improvements over time. Moving a current Maximo system from a physical server deployment into a Cloud solution should be seamless to the users, except perhaps they link to a different URL on day one.
Business and Technical Projects are often combined. A good example of this is an upgrade project where the Business side takes the lead.
Engage with the Business Users
The second key to success is to ensure that you have the right mix of people on the project. This includes a Project Manager that listens to the needs to the business and can adapt the plan accordingly. A plan is only good on Day One if you don’t allow for flexibility to resolve changes and unforeseen circumstances. None of us are that wise or experienced that we can predict the future.
The core team for delivery should consider knowledgeable Maximo Technicians. If you are buying in resource – then insist on IBM Certified Consultants and Solution Advisers. This team could also include an overall Solutions Architect to bring together the whole picture, as well as how and where Maximo resides with other business systems. Business Analysts can work between the Technicians and the Business Users. Their primary role is to record the Requirements, understand how these are delivered in Maximo and support the testing and process definition.
The third key to success is to engage the Business Users. The most successful Maximo projects I’ve seen are created when the Business understands that it is their system. They therefore get the Business Users involved early on and engaged as much as possible. Make sure to select people from all levels of the business chain. Look for people who are not only keen and full of the possibilities, but also those who are critical and dogged to ensure that Maximo works for the business.
Choose a Methodology
So what are the methods that you can use? There are lots out there, here’s two…
The “traditional” IT Project method. Define the Requirements; Design & Document the Solution; Build the System; Test & Fix (repeat until done); Deploy.
This methodology is best deployed when greater control and cost management is required. Especially if you are outsourcing the Build off-site or off-shore. It gives each stage of the project a clear defined deliverable and a detailed task-based project plan can be built to manage progress. The solution is documented at stage or phase. The key here, as with the project plan, is to be able to effectively manage change to the Design (or Scope). A flexible Project Manager, may have scope in the budget to be able to address some issues (they may be time and/or cost) but the Change and Decision should be recorded. If necessary, there may be a change to scope, cost or timelines. It’s best to be prepared for such eventualities and have a process in place.
Often misunderstood. Scope the Requirements; Demo a worked example; Reiterate workshops demonstrating design and build with the Business Users; Test and Test again; Sign Off; Create As-Built Documentation.
This method allows for a quicker Design and Build phase. The designer/developer works closely with the Business Team to build and adjust the solution as they go. In order to minimize the risk of the solution not meeting requirements, frequent reviews of the solution are needed. But avoid the pitfalls… You still need the Scope and Requirements defined to set the framework! And don’t get to the end and forget the documentation, it is vital to support the solution to create the As Built documentation.
Whichever method you use, here is the fourth key to success… there is an acronym to remember OSINTOT – avoid these moments! It stands for “Oh S**t I Never Thought Of That” (Google it!). Basically, it means that when defining requirements, or designing or building a Solution, try to avoid oversights by making sure that you have covered all the bases and that you haven’t forgotten anything because after go live it might be too late!
So in summary, the keys to success:
- Define, Document and Communicate the Scope
- Ensure the right mix of people on the Project – PM; Techies; BAs and Users
- Engage with the Business – after all – it is their Maximo!
- Cover all bases before Go-Live