Apex 3 Blog
A blog to offer ideas, suggestions and techniques to turn around or fix troubled or failed IT projects

A Checklist for ERP Pricing and Costs

by Mark Davison February 7. 2011 12:50
Software one-time pricing
Base license fees
Cost per site
Cost per processor
Cost per device
Concurrent/cost “per seat”
Data conversion
Warranty charges
Escrow charges
Legal charges
Other fees
Equipment costs
Software costs
Installation/configuration costs
Other components needed to operationalize
Other Software
Third party software
Report Writer
Operating systems
Materials and manuals
Instructor cost
Facilities cost
Training environment set up
Support and Maintenance
Support Pricing
Help desk
Onsite support
Remote support
Maintenance charges
Annual price increase
What currency
Date proposal pricing expires
Usage/transaction fees
Cost of additional licenses
Upgrade fees


New or Interim CIO Action Points

by Mark Davison February 6. 2011 16:54
  • Meet the stakeholders
  • Determine the major problems and issues
    • Special callout: what issues exist with security, compliance and backup/recovery?
  • Determine your staffing needs; figure out who are the right people you need on board to help
  • Review the budget and determine additional financial, human and other resources that may be needed
  • Review IT processes and procedures; determine where improvements are needed
  • Evaluate the personnel performance review process and determine changes needed
  • Develop your improvement plan - both strategic and tactical
    • Special callouts:  Develop a communications plan - take pains to communicate clearly and often; develop a change management plan -plan the extent and pace of change you plan
  • Launch initiatives targeted at resolving the major problems and issues
  • Establish the measurements you can use to measure improvement
  • Execute the improvement plan


Some Rules for a PM to Live By - 1

by Mark Davison February 5. 2011 13:04
  • Know what you want.  Focus on it.  Work toward it.  Achieve it.
  • Know when to go with the flow, or resist.  Both have their place.
  • Take responsibility for what you do.  If you are unhappy, take responsibility to change things.
  • Do what's important - don't procrastinate.  Get it done.
  • Be a winner - don't quit.  Winners never quit, and quitters never win.  
  • Sometimes you will fail, or take a misstep.  OK - get up and keep moving.  Be self aware and make apologies.  It's not the end of the world.
  • Be thankful.  Remember how fortunate you are and your successes.  Thank others for their help and support.
  • Be friendly and kind to others.  Being unfriendly and nasty are not a winning philosophies, and and remember what goes around comes around.
  • Set high expectations.  Expect the best.  Challenge yourself and others to give their best.


Some Guiding Principles for a Complex Project

by Mark Davison February 4. 2011 15:59
  • Get the “right” people actively involved
  • Work around roadblocks trying to stop or compromise the project objectives
  • Leverage existing assets and competencies when possible, but use 3rd party experts when needed
  • Use measurements to facilitate and track progress - “what gets measured gets done”
  • Take on any task to achieve the goals, regardless of title or job description
  • Remember it's often easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission
  • Come to work willing to push the envelope - to the edge - if necessary
  • Be loyal to the objectives but be real about how to achieve them
  • Work “quietly” sometimes - without promoting work efforts or successes - to avoid pushback or resistance
  • Always show respect to your sponsor(s) and recognize them for their support


Lessons Learned from an ERP Recovery Project

by Mark Davison February 4. 2011 15:55
Business Owners
        Engage business owners early in process to obtain understanding and buy in
        Entrust them with roles, responsibilities and authority to get job done well
        Embrace people with the right knowledge, experience, expertise and drive (leadership)
Use high-powered people and allow them to “carry the ball” as far as possible
Planning and Schedule
Establish and maintain master schedule of important tasks; use proactively to monitor progress
        Aggressively question tasks that fall behind, assure they don't endanger the entire effort
Issues Management
        Establish issues management and escalation processes early; keep them simple
Diligently record and track each issue, and follow to closure
Share issues log with PMO and steering committee at each PMO and SC meeting
Scope Management
Establish scope change and escalation processes early; keep them simple
Diligently record and track change  requests, and follow to closure
Share scope change log with PMO and SC at each PMO and SC meeting
Makes the entire effort happen; ensure your key participants are leaders
Meet needs, anticipate expectations
Communicate clearly, often and honestly
Engage professionals to help with planned and ad hoc communications needs
Need to meet timeframe and budget, at appropriate quality and performance levels
Define standards and help teams plan to meet them; insist they be met
“What gets measured gets done”
Establish and use appropriate measures to monitor and assure progress toward goals
Risk Management
Establish risk management and escalation processes early; keep them simple
Diligently record and track each risk and follow to assure mitigation
Share risk management list with PMO and SC at each PMO and SC meeting
Don't overlook importance of assuring quality in everything that happens
Question everything; look at everything from “outside the box”
Understand impact of tasks, technologies, resources, etc. with milestones and deliverables
Invest the time to test, test, test


Meeting Pitfalls to Avoid

by Mark Davison February 3. 2011 13:43
Unclear goals or objectives - lack of direction
Not enough advance communication with those affected by decisions
Timelines aren't kept
Not on time for meeting
Not prepared for meeting
Technology (i.e., WEBEX, conference call, etc.) not working
Meetings aren't well facilitated
Discussions unfocused or unproductive
Lack of strong, knowledgeable, experienced leadership in meeting
Creep - discussion grows beyond the definition and scope needed
Don't have an agenda
Don't stick to agenda
Don't begin or end on time
Feels like nothing is accomplished in the meeting
Old or irrelevant items keep getting revisited over and over
1 or 2 members dominate discussions


Example List of Daily Responsibilities for a PM

by Mark Davison February 3. 2011 13:40
The day-to-day management of the project
Setting expectations for goals, objectives, performance, deliverables, and results
Establishing a spirit of collaboration and teamwork
Expressing and communicate a vision for the team
Assisting other members of the team in resolving problems
Keeping the team focused on both weekly progress and the final objectives
Keeping the team motivated
Preparing the project plan in collaboration with the team members
Identifying both formal and informal team roles for each member of the team
Scheduling and conducting team meetings
Making certain the team meets the schedule for deliverables and task milestones
Representing the team to others, and others to the team
Establishing regular communications with other individuals and groups
Ensuring that team communications are shared as needed


Example Competency List for PMs in Troubled Situations

by Mark Davison February 3. 2011 13:37
Effective planning - define goals, plan what has to be achieved, and work out schedules so that right things are done in right order
Effective organization - define roles/responsibilities, decide what is required and who should do what
Effective direction - instruct, coordinate, motivate and lead others; communicate what has to be done, and get it done well
Effective controls - keep an eye on things to make sure that everything goes according to plan
Effective problemsolving - diagnose the causes of any problems or issues, identify possible solutions, weigh the pros and cons, choose the most sensible solutions
Effective decisionmaking - decide and act rather than letting things occur through hesitancy and inaction, keep others with a need to know fully informed, check results of decisions to assure desired outcome is attained
Effective meeting management - assure timely start, prevent participants from rambling or dominating, make sure everyone attending knows why they are there; utilize agendas; achieve your meeting objectives
Effective leadership - understand your role as a leader and facilitator, demonstrate fairness and firmness; gain trust in working with the client; lead the participants to work well together
Effective at handling conflict - demonstrate conflict management skills; remind other of overall objectives, play down differences and emphasize common interests among various parties, resolve conflict(s) in timely fashion
Cooperative attitude - go out of the way to cooperate


Example List Of Individual Responsibilities in a Turnaround

by Mark Davison February 3. 2011 13:35
Demonstrate why you're here - use the knowledge and skills necessary to perform your job/assignment
Accept responsibility and complete work on a timely basis
Do the right things right the first time, rework is not acceptable
Be a self-starter; get things done; be aggressive in your work
Dress and conduct yourself in a manner that conveys the impression of a competent professional person
Respect colleagues and client personnel
Work well as a member of a team
Cooperate with colleagues and client personnel
Keeps others appropriately informed
Focus on solutions and be productive
Be considerate of yourself and others - do not waste time - we have a lot to do in a limited time
Follow instructions and execute the work plan
Follow up on minor and major items
Listen to constructive criticism and performance improvement opportunities
Willingly and expeditiously adopt improvements and modify your work habits if needed
Maintain a neat and orderly work area
Write memos, letters, reports, documentation, etc., with clarity, conciseness and good grammar
Demonstrate a sense of urgency, get things done
Plan your work, manage your time and resources - don't' just wing it
Meet or exceed goals and/or deadlines
Obtain appropriate approvals and/or sign-offs
Be courteous in person and on the telephone


Example List of Team Member Responsibilities in a Turnaround

by Mark Davison February 3. 2011 13:32
  • Prepare prior to meetings
  • Arrive at meetings a few minutes early
  • Participate in meetings
  • Listen to understand, speak to be understood
  • Stick to the agenda
  • Build on others' ideas
  • Provide leadership when needed 
  • Complete work assignments on time
  • Perform promised follow ups
  • Pay attention
  • Be courteous and flexible
  • Use “we” expressions, not you versus me
  • Display a sense of humor
  • Take on extra work for the team when necessary
  • Offer ideas and suggestions to solve team problems
  • Accept and support consensus decisions of the team


About Mark Davison

Mark Davison

After 25+ years of working on and leading projects primarily in IT, I'm establishing this blog to share knowledge, ideas, tips and techniques regarding how to turnaround and fix troubled and failed projects

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