We’ve spent over a decade facilitating logistics and supply chain software implementation projects for clients. Sometimes, the software implementation process can become contentious when involving IT or software development teams.
We would like to share a few tips we’ve learned along the way to help manage expectations. We believe that taking note of our experience will help promote a harmonious relationship between your team and the software developers that operate on the back-end of the project.
Create An Environment of Communication and Understanding
Each of these tips boils down to two key actions you can take: communicate and understand.
1. Be Open-Minded to Design Suggestions
You have an idea. You’re the subject matter expert on logistics or supply chain management and you know what you want from a TMS solution. But, if you’re working with developers on a software concept, yield to their expertise. They’re architecture and design experts, and they have seen their share of success and failure when it comes to scope decisions.
Hear out the software developers; they might be able to make your idea even better than you thought it could be.
2. Have Realistic Expectations About the Effort Level
Just because a task seems easy from the outside doesn’t mean it’s easy to actually perform the work. Often times, significant or unanticipated effort is needed on the back-end to complete the project.
Some jobs require an engineer to touch several different areas of the system, not to mention a thorough UAT process upon completion. Ultimately, the software development team wants to make sure the project is done right the first time. So, if they say they need more time, don’t pressure them to rush.
3. Respect Their Time
- Questions arise.
- Check-ins are necessary.
- Input is needed.
All these things are true and completely acceptable. However, an engineer might be working on something highly complicated. Therefore, staying on their specific train of thought is crucial.
It’s best to reserve your thoughts and questions for an email so that the software engineer can answer you at a stopping point. If you need to discuss in-person, request a meeting in writing so that an optimal time can be arranged. This is good practice for anyone, actually.
4. Try to Stick to the Scope
We know it’s common to recognize that other elements would be nice to add to the project once development is underway and all the pieces start coming together. However, it’s not a good idea to start building a new wish list when the project is already scoped out.
It’s important to prioritize those new items in relation to the project terms already agreed upon. Ask yourself this question: is this idea critical to include in this iteration of the TMS solution, or should the idea be saved for a future release?
Scope creep happens, but don’t expect out-of-scope items to be completed for free or within the originally quoted time frame.
5. Don’t Immediately Blame the System
User adoption is tough. Change of any kind is tough. If something doesn’t seem right after the software is implemented, examine your internal process and review any training tools first. Many times, the issue is process-related rather than system-related.
If you determine that your users are still having trouble with the TMS solution, then circle back to the software developer to see if they can communicate helpful information to your team.
Have Other Tips on Software Development Projects?
We would love to hear from you if you have other tips to share about successful TMS software implementation projects. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.
Otherwise, try to incorporate these tips into your software project management approach. Your software engineers will thank you!