It’s one thing to run a successful project. It is sometimes another thing to successfully integrate that solution into the rest of the business. Considerations like existing interfaces, new interfaces, obsolete interfaces, end-user acceptance, full company adoption, and upper management buy-in all play a part in the successful roll out of a solution that integrates heavily into the existing business infrastructure.
Do not underestimate the time and effort needed to integrate a new system into the existing business and interface it to existing systems. Planning is critical and ensuring that all tie-ins are captured in your project schedule and viewable in a tool like Seavus Project Viewer is important to create an understanding of the timeframe needed to guarantee the integrations are handled properly.
Project managers need to be sure that the plan allows some contingency for slippage and that they are informed whenever staff encounters this.
Project managers must plan for any integration tasks from the start of the overall project, not leave them until the end. Some specific things to take into consideration when incorporating integration concerns and tasks into the project plan include:
- Review those interfaces used on other projects that may influence this project.
- Define all project interface requirements.
- Be certain that there are not too many third-party contractors all working on separate integration plans. A single, coordinated effort is more desirable.
- Identify all possible risks and issues in a risk management plan.
- Define the communication between all interested parties.
- Define the output for each project deliverables.
- Document the data conversion process.
- Establish a change control procedure.
- Be certain that there is a plan for integration testing.
- Ensure that a contingency plan takes effect in the event of system failure.
Few projects stand alone. Most, but not all, integrate to some degree into existing systems and processes within an organization. Failing to plan for how those integrations will be handled can lead to delays, resistance to adoption of the new solution by end-users, and potential for failure of the deployment overall. Spend enough time planning upfront and identify all potential integration to ensure all bases are covered and to help ensure you project has its greatest chances for success within the organization as a whole.