Sunday, 8 January 2012

Not so happy new year

The new year has come and gone; so our overseas site must have gone live, right? Unfortunately, no.

Although we technically stopped work for Christmas, I was getting emails and phone calls right thru the holidays. I started to feel a little concerned as it looked increasingly like they were struggling with some basic stuff; and on New Years eve, I got a call to tell me that the go-live was postponed until the end of January.

Despite the fact that I had asked many times if the data had all been loaded (and been told that it was), the actual situation is that there are still a number of items of master data that have yet to be loaded. Little things like a load of customer and supplier information, bank details, a lot of product information and the open activity etc.

On top of that, the consultants were still working on config changes (more on that next time) up until Christmas eve - but then stopped work until the first week of January, and so there's a substantial number of items outstanding that haven't even been looked at.

I was asked to go over to the site along with the VP of operations - we had a really bad flight over, then problems at the airport with a lost bag. This delayed us getting to site by several hours, which was made worse by the cab driver taking the wrong route.

By the time we got to the site, he was not happy at all. The consultants were watching some video on a laptop and howling with laughter which really did not sit well with him. When he spoke to the consultants, he made the point that he had been told that everything would be ready, and the delay was down to them entirely. He also said that he did not see why we should continue to pay their company if they were not able to do the work that they themselves had agreed to.

Subsequently, he had a conversation with the director of the SI - who didn't apologise for any of the issues or the delay, but suggested that our VP should apologise for being too demanding! To be honest, I stayed out of it as much as I could - but the conversation we had at the hotel that night showed that our VP is not impressed, and I think that he will not leave this point alone until he gets satisfaction.

So, we spent a week on site, going thru the outstanding items, and trying to get these covered off. Surprisingly, we did manage to get a lot done while I was there, and altho there are many areas still not finished, we could be on track and be ready to go-live in about another 3 weeks.

I will say that I am still a bit concerned at the moment. The consultants have the staff at the site doing some training - by entering data into the live system. Now I accept that it is live data (from real orders etc.) but this should be done within the test system, not the production system. But hey, what do I know about anything.

Some of the results they get are not quite right - well that's to be expected if it's not been tested as it should. They have had to go thru some of the data to make amendments, and they had to make a couple of other config changes that had been put into the test system, but not the development or production system. Before you ask, they still haven't put them in the dev system.

So here we are again - waiting for work to be done that I was told categorically had all been finished. I am planning to go back over again in a couple of weeks, but possibly that may be sooner. I'll try to keep you updated.


  1. Your blog has been a tremendous public service, and I really hope that you'll package the whole story -- posts as written interspersed with perfect hindsight and then your conclusions and admonitions -- into a book that should be required reading for EVERYONE in IT, line of business execs dependent on technology, CFOs, CEOs, and more.

  2. Naomi,

    Thanks for the kind words. I still find it quite surprising that people read my blog, and find it of value.

    As for a book - this is a topic that has been raised before by a couple of other regular readers. I did look at this and I even made a start by trying to put together an outline, but I'm afraid that is as far as I got. However, it is on my list of things to do - and if things get a bit quieter, I may try again later in the year.