Project Management and Implementation Methodology Overview
During the implementation, we rely on the comprehensive business and implementation methodology of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Methodology (shortly: Sure Step). Its use guarantees a high level of quality in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (formerly Dynamics NAV) implementations, ensures customer satisfaction, and provides full security. Ecobit Ltd. supplements the internationally recognized, standardized, and continuously quality-managed ERP systems implementation methodology created by Microsoft with its accumulated project management and quality assurance methodology experience.
The implementation consists of two main parts, the first is planning, the second is realization. Each part includes project phases, which consist of task groups. The Sure Step methodology divides Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central implementation projects into phases according to the milestones of implementation. The transition from one phase to another is strictly regulated, with each phase having start and finish conditions. These are fulfilled by preparing deliverables (project documents, minutes, manuals, etc.), which are authenticated by the client’s signature. These guarantee that the project is proceeding according to plans and expected quality, facilitate the flow of information and knowledge among project participants, and ensure the optimal use of available resources.
The first step in the implementation is the appointment of an application host and key users for each area of expertise from the client’s side, who accompany the project throughout the implementation and ensure the system’s safe operation during live use.
The application host knows the entire system and business process and has an overview of the integration impacts. Their tasks during implementation include participating in consultations regardless of the area of expertise, maintaining constant communication among key users, and facilitating conflict resolution. They ensure the division of labor and coordination with counterpart areas in process planning, parameterization, data uploading, and testing. Additionally, their responsibilities include maintaining the users and their associated authorization system. After implementation, they receive questions, problems, and needs from key users and compile, develop solutions, maintain contact with the support partner, and forward unsolvable issues to the partner company.
Key users possess professional competence in a specific area during and after the implementation project, take positions on issues that arise and need solving, make decisions depending on their authority, or prepare and submit decisions. They participate in consultations and training related to the implementation, lead the implementation in their area, complete or assign the tasks related to the implementation, and hold accountability. The key user’s task is to have skill-level knowledge of the system’s area of expertise, train colleagues, provide support, and train new entrants.
The following briefly presents the phases related to the implementation.
Project Planning Task Group
As the first step of project planning, the client and the introducing partner’s project manager jointly prepare the Project Charter, which includes the project’s goals, milestones, deliverables, members involved in the project and the committee, the infrastructure required for the project’s progress, success criteria, and risk factors. They also jointly prepare a detailed schedule for the project.
The project formally begins with the “Kick-off” meeting, where the project participants are introduced, and the team members familiarize themselves with the contents of the PAD and the steps of the introduction.
Survey, Business Process Reengineering (BPR) Task Group
During the analysis phase, we assess the client’s expectations and requirements through interviews and thoroughly examine the relationship between the requirements and the current system, current processes. We go through multiple rounds of needs assessment and consultation with Key Users and the IT area, during which we review and compare the entire functionality and system connections of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central to be introduced with business processes and requirements. Through personal interviews with appointed representatives of the business and IT areas, we comprehensively assess the processes around the existing ERP system (or the systems replacing it) and, based on the initially agreed main business needs and the opportunities offered by the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central system, we make recommendations for optimizing the processes. The Functional Requirement Document compiled during the needs assessment also addresses the expected changes to the related systems, the necessary interface modifications, migration needs and principles, and defines the requirements for the infrastructure to be established.
Key User Training Task Group
General operator and function training is provided for the application host and key users at the training center. Each participant learns the basic functions and operations of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central modules to be introduced through practical exercises on computers.
The system administrator and application host acquire the knowledge necessary for the system’s operation and maintenance during the administrator training, such as installation, user maintenance, and permission maintenance.
The trainings are conducted according to the schedule of Key User and Administrator training themes. Participants receive training materials for each function, which they can use for independent practice later.
Planning Task Group
After conceptual, high-level planning, detailed planning begins. Process diagrams and descriptions are prepared for the main processes defined in the process catalog described in the accepted Functional Requirement Document. The proposed processes are discussed with key users, functional, and technical consultants during consultations. During detailed planning, it is determined what level of customization, application development is necessary to meet the revealed needs, or what parameterization (configuration) the system is capable of providing the expected operation. As a result of detailed planning, the detailed functional specification, the Detailed Plan document, is produced, which includes descriptions related to business processes and parameterization.
The client accepts the phase with the signature of the Detailed Plan document.
Development (Implementation and Testing) Phase
Development Task Group
In accordance with the detailed planning, we prepare screen, query, and report designs for the necessary modifications and developments in the form of a development sheet. This includes designing and specifying the complete functionality of the interfaces. The developments are summarized in the Development Plan document, where the development identifier, priority, and deadline are recorded.
We carry out the necessary developments and the associated developer tests for both the required functional expansions and the interfaces.
Database Setup, Parameterization Task Group
The database parameterization and filling of the necessary code tables are done according to the method and value set determined in detailed planning, which the consultant performs with the support of key users within the framework of consultations. The Migration Plan, which is determined during detailed planning, helps with filling the parameters and code tables of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, specifying which code table will be used in the system. The table includes the method, priority, deadline, responsible person, and status of filling the parameters and code tables, which allows for continuous monitoring of the data uploading progress.
We make recommendations for the authorization levels related to the system, the rights associated with each level, its method, and the related document design.
We also suggest elements for the backup policy related to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, which can be adapted to the client’s internal operational policy.
Testing Task Group
We prepare and consult with the client on the Testing Plan document, which contains the system-level test plan for the customized Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
The completed modifications and developments undergo an intensive series of individual and system tests, checking the correctness and appropriateness of the settings. We test and check individual functions separately and multiple functions simultaneously. The supplier test is followed by the user test, during which the Key Users of the Client Ltd., as well as representatives of the business areas, future users, check the system’s operation.
After that, we perform complete integration, security, and load tests with the cooperation of Client Ltd. (and, if necessary, the suppliers of the connected systems), thus ensuring the system’s proper operation and speed, during which the backup functions are also examined. The results of these tests are recorded in test protocols, based on which the Acceptance Protocol is signed, the closing document of this phase.
In this phase, it is necessary to revise the internal operational regulations of Client Ltd. based on the accepted process optimization, which is the responsibility of Client Ltd.
Also, in this phase, the User and Operational Manuals are completed.
Preparation for Live Start Phase
End-User Training Task Group
After the User Manuals and Operational Manual are completed, the future users of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are trained using the tested system. The end-user training is conducted by key users, if necessary, with consultant support. During the training, participants prepare for system use by going through all roles and processes used by user types according to the training plan.
Live Start Task Group
As part of the transition, we carry out the necessary migrations and entry of opening data according to the migration plan with the cooperation of the application host.
After successful preparation, the transition takes place according to the transition scenario. A handover-acceptance protocol is prepared, which is authenticated by the client’s signature and also confirms the system’s commissioning and acceptance.
Supporting Live Operation Phase
Support Task Group
In the month following the live start, we provide increased availability and on-site support as needed for the immediate restoration of any live operational problems. Subsequently, the introduced Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central support, monitoring, and any arising problems are registered and resolved according to the conditions outlined in the support contract.
We collect and process data about the experiences of the transition and the implementation project itself, which we evaluate jointly with the client’s project management.