I recently read a post on TechRepublic by Jay Rollins which said that within six months to one year after an initial software implementation project is complete, there is always a need for a second project to address opportunities that arise from the original implementation.
I agree with Jay that a post implementation project is an excellent process by which to find additional opportunities not covered in the original implementation. For our document assembly clients, we find that they benefit from added value uncovered during this process.
I'd like to add two additional thoughts to Jay's thesis as to why to undertake such a project.
One of the first reasons is "the law of unintended consequences;" for example, if one particular department within a company was the driving force for the implementation (let's say the legal department) of a new technology or application, it should be noted that this is only one cog in the overall process or value chain. Legal may touch areas including sales, production, risk management, procurement, finance, and human resources; and the technology they implemented could have unintentioned (read; "beneficial") consequences to many other departments. In fact, these benefits may be greater outside of the original department that mandated the new technology.
Another reason is money. Often, initial projects are limited in budget with most of the budget being spent on the technology. After 6-12 months, an organization can much more easily "wrap its head" around how to make a new technology even more of an "exact fit" for their particular use and, more importantly, can quantify the benefits or the ROI of an add-on optimization project. These benefits could include deeper integration with front end and back end systems, application customization, enhanced training, roll out to other departments, and many other substantial benefits.
Have you been a part of a post implementation project? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below.