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Need help with project scope management.

By toliver ·
We are in the process of implementing an integrated third-party software application to replace several of our stand-alone in-house applications. The project is about 60% complete and we are now being told by the software vendor that we will be implementing a completely rewrittten version of one of the primary modules of the integrated application. They are planning to "re-convert" the converted data at the last minute to the new module and "re-train" staff immediately before go-live. In addition, this rewritten module is not currently live at any of the vendor's other sites - although they claim it will be live at one site by the time we go-live. I can't seem to get a real reason for their need to add this extra level of complexity into the project at this point in time. All their other sites are on the software version levels that we started our implementation process on. My gut instinct is that this is a receipe for diaster. So I'm looking for opinions from other project management folks with more experience that I have.

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by Salamander In reply to Need help with project sc ...

I would go with your gut on this one. It sounds as if they want to use your site for beta testing, which is NOT good.

Some questions to ask yourself:
-Your contract should specify the version of the application you are receiving. This may give you some ammunition to insist upon the previous version. Talk with your legal folks on this one.
-How confident are you in their testing processes? Having dealt with a vendor in the past who did nearly zero testing and left the testing to us, I seriously doubt that you want to be testing fixes after go-live.
-As a compromise, do you have an extra test server that you could do testing for the new version, while going live with the old? Can you agree on a timeline by which the new version would be phased in (a year from now?), etc. That way, you have the opportunity to test it at your leisure.
-Does the other site have the exact install that you do? My concern would be that the new module might not play well with the others.
-How mission-critical are these systems? If they **** up on the first day, how much of a work process disruption is this?
-Will they have their staff on-site during rollout to resolve any issues? Either way you go, I would insist on this.
-Does the old version meet your requirements? If not, they may insist that they will only make customizations for the new version. Be prepared for that with your legal people.
-If there does wind up being an amendment in scope of that degree, you must get your legal folks involved to amend the contract and stipulate what the vendor's responsibilities are under the new scope.

For me, the whole idea would represent an unacceptable degree of risk. You seem to have nothing to gain by upgrading now, but would incur huge risks.

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