Last month, Schindelbeck offered tips for assessing new software.Now he's sharing the top 10 things to avoid when considering aproposed software upgrade or implementation. The list, he adds,reflects "the most egregious errors we have witnessed in theindustry."

  • The "It's an IT Only Project" label. Dispel theperception that the IT department alone conceives, leads anddelivers the upgrade. Something as momentous as an upgrade affectseveryone in the organization.
  • Scope creep. Making one little change in yourproject--and then another and another--is costly, confusing andguarantees implementation delays. Make sure everyone understandsand accepts the project's objective and scope from the start.
  • Using unproven products or providers. Save thetrailblazing for your business, not your software upgrade.
  • Biting off more than you can chew. Change is difficult,especially when it comes all at once. It's best to implement yournew software in phases that will both demonstrate progress andallow people to track it.
  • Underestimating the impact of the upgrade. Accept thefact that implementing new software will require changing some ofyour existing processes. Analyze your current processes, considerhow the new software will impact them and capitalize on the changeas a process improvement tool.
  • Customization. A custom designed software suite maysound appealing, but added complexity and cost overruns are likely.Leading software solutions designed specifically for real estatewill meet the needs of most companies.
  • Keeping the project secret. Communication is an asset.The more you share about the software upgrade, the greater thelikelihood it will be accepted and understood. Have a changemanagement communication plan that incorporates all keystakeholders into the project.
  • Converting bad data. Be sure to "cleanse" the data inthe legacy system before converting to the new system. Otherwise,you risk giving new life to problems that frustrated you in the oldsystem.
  • Cutting corners on testing. Creating a well-consideredtest plan will pay big dividends. Make sure all appropriate projectteam members and end users are involved in testing thesoftware.
  • Cutting corners on training. This is another area wheregoing cheap doesn't pay. Make sure you identify everyone who needstraining. Develop effective role-based training for each userconstituency.

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