A paper originally presented to the PMSA Global Knowledge Conference,
Monday May 10, 2004,
Midrand, South Africa.
Published here January 2005.

Introduction | The Project | Project Management Processes | Progress
Things Start to Go Wrong | Workshop Outcome | Next Steps | What Went Wrong?
The Purchase Process and Buyer's Remorse | Suggestions to Avoid Similar Situations
Commentary | Issues for Discussion

Part 2: Things Start To Go Wrong

Phase 3 User Testing

The next major step in the project plan was for the users to start testing. Word came about in a very indirect way that the Client was not happy with what was being done. The User Technical Consultant apparently went about telling people that there was not much difference between the old system and the upgraded one. This got to the Client MD who immediately contacted the SP to find out what was happening. A workshop was called for the users, including the User Technical Consultant, and a demonstration was given of the system. No specific concerns were raised but the SP decided to do a formal project review, conducted by a senior SP director, in order to ascertain the state of the project.

This review included all the key stakeholders from the SP as well as the Client and it took place two weeks before the user testing was due to start. Clients interviewed included the MD, the Client Project Manager and the User Technical Consultant. The review showed that the PMBOK processes were being followed. The Clients interviewed expressed the opinion that the project was proceeding on track. Reference was made to the weekly progress meetings, which they felt were constructive. No stumbling blocks were identified. The Client did not complain about the new system, which was strange because the reason for the review was that the User Technical Consultant had told outside parties that he was not happy with it. The Client suggested that a team building exercise be held.

Team Building Workshop

It was agreed to hold a team-building workshop with key members of the project team as well as senior management on both the user side as well as the SP. The SP would use the opportunity to present its findings of the project review. The invitation to the workshop gave the following objectives:

  • To discuss all current issues relating to the upgrade project
  • To allocate responsibility to resolve the issues
  • To agree closure dates for issues

The Client decided to use a neutral party to facilitate the afternoon. This party was a team of consultants that had been on the Client site for the previous two months. The brief of this team of consultants was to look at all the Client's business processes, including the Client's computer systems and make changes where appropriate.

There was no hint of the possibility that the system was unsuitable and that the Client might be getting cold feet. The expectation was just to talk about current issues and on this basis it promised to be quite a routine affair.

Progress  Progress

Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page