Cognos TM1 – A Case Study
Our resident TM1 expert Mike Young looks at a recent implementation with a well-known retailer- the challenges faced and the way they were overcome.
Hitting the Ground Running
We were approached by one of our alliance partners to see if we were able to provide an experienced Cognos TM1 consultant to address some TM1 issues in an implementation for a well know retailer. The previous consultant was no longer available and the client needed some urgent work addressing.
The client’s initial expectation was that a sufficiently experienced consultant could simply arrive on site and immediately understand somebody else’s model and ‘hit the ground running’.
TM1 Health Check
Whilst very keen to meet clients expectations, the team at Triangle has established a structured approach to requests like these and our initial approach was to perform a brief ‘Health Check’ exercise. We insist in this approach to provide a bare minimum of project documentation. Below we can see some of the output from this health check exercise.
As is the case with all projects like this the Health Check document turned out to be very important as it identified a strategy to keep the project plan in alignment and within the clients time and cost expectations. We worked with the client and agreed that the most complex components of the delivery were tackled offsite at our offices thereby reducing the risk of unexpected issues derailing the project.
Offsite vs Onsite
The client’s preference to have all work performed onsite needed to be balanced against the likelihood that being unfamiliar with someone else’s model was going to produce some unexpected issues. By lifting the core development offsite, it was possible to ‘switch the clock off’ when an issue was encountered and to switch to other work. This allowed time for an exchange of emails to resolve whatever the issue was. Issues ranged from security access to clarification of requirements. This would not have been possible with our consultant onsite as they would not have been able to switch to other projects and thus the whole day would have to be billed irrespective of any issue encountered. It was this measure, more than any other, which kept the project costs under control.
The combination of the Health Check document and the Offsite Prototype dramatically reduced the risk of Scope Drift. Nevertheless, there is always a risk that minor items turning into major ones so the Triangle team made use of prescriptive diagrams to describe Before v After:
Below we have an example of such a diagram.
The Client is King
Despite our best intentions, we did reach a point in the project just before Go Live where the client just wanted to add some additional functionality that was outside of the original scope. Because the client had worked so closely alongside our consultants in the days leading up to Go Live, a high level of trust had been established and it was clear to see that our consultant was doing everything humanly possible to keep the project to time and to budget.
At this point the client realised that to get the extra mile out of the design they would need to authorise a small overspend. Normally this would throw up issues of budget, but because of the way the project had been addressed the client was able to see that a large amount of work had been achieved within a very tight budget and therefore authorising a small overspend wasn’t an issue. In the words of the client:
“It all looks good and would like to thank Nick and Mike for all of their efforts – I know it is not easy picking up a model someone else has developed”
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