The flexibility of implementations using Dynamics NAV

Johannes Gudmundsson on April 10, 2017

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It helps to think of an implementation like building a community.  Only with Dynamics NAV, you don’t have to figure out everything before breaking ground.  You adjust as you go.

Most managers within companies adopting new enterprise software have not gone through an implementation before.  They will unconsciously imagine it to be just like building a house and therefore assume a very formal approach.  When the project starts and endless change orders come in, they get frustrated and question the people working the project.  Instead they should have expected changes and incorporated them into their project plan.

Customizing business software system is not the same thing as creating one.  Even though an implementation can incur significant changes and almost feel like you are developing a whole system, the concept is very different. 

Let’s imagine we are building a community.  All the inhabitants have special requests depending on how their lifestyle is.  Some are early risers, some stay up late.  Some want quiet surroundings and some want to be in the heart of the action.  Everyone needs to collaborate to function.  You are presented with a template that covers all the basis, such as bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms.  There are doors, hallways and open spaces connecting the entire structure.  Now you need to optimize this setup. 

In the real world moving a doorway might take a couple of man days and a lot of dusty annoyance.  Moving the virtual doorway in Dynamics NAV might only take an hour or two.  Working on adding and moving doorways and windows is like configuring and doing minor customizations to the system.  There should not be a need to detail this out, rather work in an agile workshop manner where the changes are made and evaluated in turn. 

Changing building structures like extending houses are moderately complex customizations.  In this case, we should look out to see if any reliable add-ons exist that fill the need.  If not, then we can kick in some planning and design.  It is up to the developer to decide how much is needed.  This is where the compromise comes in and we carefully move forward.  The need to change a structure can come out of an agile workflow and could possibly not have been foreseen in the beginning of the project.  That should be acceptable to maintain flexibility.

Finally, inventing a whole new structure like an Egyptian pyramid is a major modification.  That would be like writing a new posting routine or dramatically change the way inventory costing works.  These modifications should be avoided.  Being creative about the existing system and considering changing business processes is often a better solution than diving into deep changes.  If working at this level is necessary, then great care should be taken.  As project managers, we have a duty to tame people’s inner pharaoh.

Simply put, we can be very agile with minor to moderate changes and then move to more formal methodology for the more complex stuff.  This combination of both methodologies is what makes Dynamics NAV implementations fast, flexible and unique.

Topics: ERP, Dynamics NAV 2017, implementations

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