Thursday, January 22, 2009

Beware Poor Project Management

By Mark Brousseau

What is the biggest mistake end-users make when deploying a document management solution? It’s poor internal project management, according to Dana Showers, president of Capture Sage, LLC (717-732-9531/, a provider of comprehensive capture solutions.

“Everybody talks about choosing the right vendor, or hiring the right consultant. These are extremely important,” Showers said. “However, if an organization wants to protect itself, to ensure that it gets maximum return on investment from its document management solution, it needs to pay close attention to internal project management.”

Showers explained that insufficient project management can result in poor vendor selection, a poorly written contract, missing functionality, and a poorly implemented system.

To avoid these pitfalls, Showers offers the following recommendations:

… Ask prospective vendors to provide you with copies of the resumes of each person who will be working on your project. Once you get these, be sure to check their references. “A vendor trying to quickly ramp-up for a large project will often bring in highly intelligent, highly skilled people who have absolutely no experience with capture solutions. Inevitably, the resulting system will be deficient in the areas that matter most to end-users: usability and visibility. The user interface will be inefficient, and the system probably won’t have the types of reports the user needs,” Showers explained.

… Build into your contract system performance metrics for availability, image and text quality, and operator throughput rates. And be sure to include penalties for failure to deliver. Showers cited an example where an organization bought a system that crashed at least once a month.

… Build into your contract dates for system delivery, with progressive penalties for late delivery.

… Steer clear of vendors who under-bid to win your business. “This will undoubtedly cause problems during project execution,” Showers warned, noting that these vendors will typically look for ways to cut corners. “In most of these cases, the relationship between the end-user and the vendor quickly sours.”

… Be leery of vendors who are too agreeable. “There are vendors out there that promise anything to win your business,” Showers said, noting that he has seen one vendor promise two functionality points which were actually mutually exclusive at the product level.

What do you think? Post your comments below.

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