Solutions lifecycle (basic framework)

A basic framework to implement solutions in a big corporation under the portfolio of business activities is:

  1. Hypothesis
  2. POC (proof of concept)
  3. Pilot
  4. Standarize.

Ground rules:

  • There is an evaluation of the results at the end of each stage,
  • The pilot is preferably aligned with the IT strategy.
  • Process standardization is a key element that needs to be reviewed in each one of the stages.

Kick-off meeting, a day to rest

Today we conducted the kick-off meeting for a project.

This SAP technical upgrade starts next week after an assessment process and the feeling has been: how beautiful calm we have experienced Today in comparison with the assessment process, where the stress was present in almost all the areas of evaluation.

Will do have a please project execution as calm as Today? For sure not, but we feel confident with the challenge, the team built for it and the approach we have for it.

Let’s see how it works.

Lessons learned, SAP Technical upgrade assessment

This assessment has been a very accurate exercise for defining the right approach for the technical upgrade, the reasons?

  • Our customer wants to save money on the project.
  • They want to understand how much can be saved in terms of infrastructure investment.

Lessons learned

  • Work in advance with the supporting tools that potentially you can use for a work such this. Automation tools is a competitive advantage.
  • 7 weeks is enough in terms of effort, but not in terms of real weeks. To have a team on the account that they can complete their weeks with other activities made possible to do not be over budget.
  • The number of meetings we handled has been huge, and initially were considered excessive. At the end, all these communications and alignment have contributed to have a common understanding between the line of services and the different customer departments.
  • The analysis done for the UAT has been exhaustive, we have defined a detailed plan for the UAT, with the involvement of so much people. The expected result is that the individual involvement of the organization on the test activities will be reduced to the activities they use to work in a daily basis: you test what you do in a daily basis, no more.
  • Lines of communications is very large if you see the project size. There are so much HR departments involved and so much countries. A good stake-holders analysis has helped us to organize the project plan properly and understand the great effort we have to invest on communications.
  • Infrastructure approach definition was done in a quick way due to the right involvement of the right people in the early definition approach of the solution and the great experience and alignment of the team.
  • This project has a high visibility in the organization, and this means a lot of stress, but also has a positive consequence; when you require to have the things done: I need this approved for this project…done.

What a customer looks for?

Suddenly I’m your customer, what am I looking for?

  • You are prepared: do you know your/my industry, you know the business processes, what is/isn’t valuable for us, our priorities, our business initiatives.
  • You know my company: who we are, how we approve/reject projects, where we are investing, who is who.
  • You demonstrate initiative: Be proactive studying our business initiatives, ask for priorities, call when something fail.
  • You demonstrate special initiative on me: what I need to work on, what is my work-style, what is important for me.
  • You make me feel comfortable: give me time to think, do not pressure me, understand if I’m fine or Today is not my best day,
  • You provide ideas and suggestions: think about alternatives and explain them using different points of view, look for win to win approaches.
  • You provide evidences for your assertions: data, evidences that I can use to justify initiatives and business cases.
  • Give options: if you come with a problem, give me some alternatives.
  • Add value to your relationship
  • Predict my objections: you should know perfectly what I do not like to listen.

In all these points are individual aspects that you have to take into account in a holistic way, and at this point, at least in my honest opinion, this depends on the emotional intelligence of each individual.

Account reconciliation Process

This is something we have been working on during last 2 months with a good degree of knowledge for us.

First step was to define groups of requirements we cover with the existing tool and the desired requirements.

  • Data integration (from SAP, from different sources of information, integrity of new data, )
  • Configuration & Support processes
  • Reconciliation process (reconcilers, reviewers, management of group of LEs, groups of accounts)
  • Security processes & Activities (personalized assignment, per accounts and per LEs)
  • Reporting (Reports generation, personalized ad-hoc, standard, analytical reports, dashboards)
  • SaaS, In-house implementation and Outsourced

So many things to review and to learn about this SOX compliance Process.

Later on we review 4 solutions of the market that finally were reduced to the 2 best in class. As our customer said to us: they are head hunters and we are their triumphs.

Now reviewing for each solution:

  • The pricing models.
  • Discovering the activities proposed for each implementation project and its price.
  • Service support levels
  • Availability and redundancy provided,
  • Studying the investment required in first 2 years
  • Understanding the TCO.
  • and more….

My toolkit

Toolkit I have been using these 2 last years is being different to the one used in the past. Now I work with:

  • Pipeline file
  • Risk & opportunity plan
  • Agenda and contact list
  • Forecast sheet for teams
  • Rolling forecast sheet
  • Capabilities sheet
  • Control book by Asset Id and portfolio
  • Allocations sheet
  • P&L files
  • Imagination

Something is changing in my proffesional career.


We have been working on this opportunity during more than one year.

There was an assessment phase as first stage.After this assessment phase there is potentially the technical upgrade project.

The negotiations activities done and the way we have adapted our proposal to the customer requirements have been the necessary ones that have made that our offer was accepted and keeping competitor out of the picture. A good balance between LCC team and experienced people on the account made the difference.

Reach the moment to resource the project and taking into consideration the specific details required by the customer with regards some of the people of the team we reached the point where a resource manager did want to keep one of these resources on other position.

This was not a resourcing issue where we have to replace one skilled person by other one. This is a client relationship issue where the customer is trusting on us to achieve this project activities with an agreed conditions that now cannot be achieved.

We cannot understand in which moment the resource management team misunderstood how important was to have that specific person on board and why they committed to do it when there were other imperatives on the table.