Achieving Project Success Starts with Scoping

Written By: Eric Gjerdevig

from April 9, 2013

A few weeks ago at Convergence in New Orleans I sat down with an executive from a large company in the Midwest.  He spoke of a failed implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM that they had gone through with large national accounting firm.  After spending a significant amount of money they walked away from the solution.  Now, you may ask why I’m promoting such a stunning failure.  The reason is pretty simple…we can learn a lot from those instances.

This company had put 18 months of effort into their project.  Why they failed had nothing to do with the products they were using. The problem was that their partner never once documented the requirements that they were aiming for. Staff turnover with this partner led to 3 different lead resources that effectively started over each time because there was no solution design document or defined scope.  Documenting project scope is an absolute must when it comes to implementing any software solution. Check out the article Scoping Out Projects for Success on HP’s 367 Addison Avenue site to hear more about the process.

It’s pretty easy to understand the importance. Solutions like Microsoft Dynamics CRM or SalesForce.com are designed to help companies manage things such as sales, marketing, and customer service.  Being creative and doing these things differently when it comes to sales and marketing is often viewed as a competitive advantage by clients. It’s for that exact reason that a successful project starts with a mutual understanding (a documented understanding) of what we are striving to accomplish. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform is an extremely flexible and extensible platform but if you don’t take the time to figure out where you are going you may not end up where you want.