Financial system projects are often complex and involve the management of sizeable firm-wide risk. The management approach to these projects needs to take this and other finance related factors into account. CCM have recently completed a large upgrade to a magic circle law firm’s financial system, which integrated within the company’s ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) platform.
Here are a few of our tips for managing a financial system project:
Building the correct team from the outset is critical. Identifying key skillsets such as FICO consultants, SAP Developers and Subject Matter Experts to get a rounded team is essential but it’s not only about skillsets. Getting the team to work as one with regular sharing of progress is imperative. A good example of this is use of regular show-and-tell sessions for a User Interface (UI) development phase, this will aid user acceptance testing and streamline the feedback process.
Requirement lead development
Work with the business to understand not just what the upgrade’s key requirements are but also how they can be prioritised and what interdependencies there are between them. This feeds into early planning and allows the project team to build the development plan based on coherent packages of work and delivering key benefits early.
Understanding the company’s processes and related systems
Changes to finance systems can have impacts across a range of other supporting applications and workflow activity. This is especially so when the system is a component of, or an interface to, an ERP platform such as Sage, SAP, Oracle etc. Mapping out all of these impacted areas and workflow processes upfront as part of the analysis phase identifies risks and feeds in scoping the test phase.
Test, test, test
There will be multiple phases of testing, starting with basic system testing by the technical team. More formal IT testing can then follow which could include functional, security, non-functional testing and finally the user experience. Much of the testing will require Finance SME support or even direct test activity. There is a balance to strike between what can realistically be tested by IT resources and how much will need to be tested by SME’s.
Finally, prior to the go-live, ensure the team has a defined roll-back plan in the event that a major incident occurs. The most likely cause for roll-back would be identifying incorrect financial information being present on the live system. Defining an agreed process in advance, including roll-back comms and an escalation plan will prepare the team for this worst case event. Having this defined assists with management sign-off at go-live.
Managing a financial system project – where to get more help
If you are considering managing a financial system project of this type and would like to speak to someone to understand more about how best to manage it please contact us.