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To configure, or not to configure, that is the Question

January 5th 2012

Knowing when to make changes to your system.

Congratulations!  You have just signed on the line for your new staffing software.  And this isn’t just any staffing software product; it’s ADAPT, a fully configurable recruitment software. How excited are you?!  The ink is still wet and your mind is spinning with all the changes you want to make the system yours. 

SLOW DOWN!  When the sky is the limit, it’s easy to want to change everything.  I very often see systems that are highly configured before users even start using the system.  Inevitably, some of the changes are stripped out of the system after users become frustrated.  When I work with a client gathering requirements, I make sure we capture and talk about all the possibilities, but we also work together to determine if the items are REQUIRED or NICE TO HAVE.  

Required changes are the items where your business will fail or suffer if the changes are not made.  These are typically pretty basic changes; codes, a few new fields here or there, maybe making a field or two required to ensure the capture of important data.  Depending on the available timeline, we might even separate required changes into two phases: Phase1 – required in the system for Go-Live or Phase2 – required, but can wait for after Go-Live.

Nice-to-Have changes are just that; nice to have.  It’s your wish list, or maybe they are suggestions made by users.  Problem is at this point, neither you nor your users truly know the system that well, so how do you really know that the system is going have to be changed?   

My suggestion is to absolutely make the required changes needed for your business to operate before you Go-Live.  Then start using the system.  Keep the list of Required-after-Go-Live changes and the Nice-to-have’s changes handy and refer to it to see if these items still make sense.  Additionally, successful companies often have monthly or quarterly meetings with their users to see if the nice-to-have items are actually still nice to have.  Now that they are familiar with the system, they also will discuss new areas where a change or two might improve efficiency. 

Your business analyst will help guide you during any change process, but ultimately if you say something is required, we’re going to go along with you.  YOU need to know what YOUR company requires.  Heed this advice and check yourself before you go “change happy” on your new system.  Spend your money wisely and understand the system before you make too many changes; your users and ultimately your clients, will thank you.

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