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What are the most common system implementation mistakes?

What are the biggest pitfalls you see with system implementations? How can we avoid those problems in order to be successful with our deployment?

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There are many potential problems with system implementations: poor project management, poor planning, end-user resistance or lack of time to learn the new system, data management issues, false promises from vendors and consultants during the sales cycle, internal politics and more. Many are detailed in my recent book,Why New Systems Fail: Theory and Practice Collide. Some projects go off without a hitch, but most suffer from a combination of some or all of the above. For these reasons, roughly three in five projects go over budget, miss their deadlines or do not give end-users the expected functionality and features.

I'll mention a few of the most important tips for successful implementations but there are too many to possibly list here.

  • Carefully screen vendors and define your organization's business requirements of the new system during the sales cycle.

  • Staff your project with sufficient resources. Use experienced and honest consultants and listen to them, even if you disagree with them at first.

  • Limit the scope of the project to something sustainable; don't try to boil the ocean.
  • This was first published in April 2009

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