PROJECT APPROACH & METHODOLOGY

 

 

 

The Vested Group offers a Systematic Approach

The Vested Group's approach to NetSuite implementations is based on an iterative delivery process that supports the tactical and strategic efforts of the Client while supporting a project life cycle that mitigates risks and helps ensure the delivery of a successful product.  The Vested Group Implementation Methodology is a straightforward, pragmatic and proven five-phase approach for achieving success.  The Methodology has been utilized and continuously improved on each of the projects that The Vested Group has successfully brought to completion.

The Vested Group leverages an implementation approach based on standard business flows and leading industry practices. This will allow The Vested Group to rapidly configure a master instance with standard business flows to match your requirements in a highly structured manner. This master instance will also be used as a baseline to develop any reports and customizations as identified under the Technical Scope so that the business processes and customizations work in a seamless and integrated manner.

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PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION PHASES 

 

 

 

 

The following section describes the phases and high-level activities for this implementation project. The specific details and tasks for each project may vary, so the description of the phases and sub-phases are at a conceptual level. The parties agree to work together in good faith to effect any modifications or augmentations to the following descriptions.

 

Program Initiation

 

The following are the components of the Program Initiation Phase:

 

Program Kickoff

The Program Kickoff meeting is usually the first critical meeting with all of the active project team members and stakeholders. Project parameters (budget, timeline, high-level functionality, goals and objectives) are communicated to the team by the project manager(s).

Software Licensing and Environment Setup

NetSuite licensing is confirmed and the environment is released to the Client. The work environment for the project team members is defined and created. Any needed hardware is installed, workspace rooms are reserved, network drops are done, printers are allocated, etc.

Project Planning

The project organization, team structure, roles and responsibilities, approaches to testing, quality, training etc. are defined and agreed upon. The project management activities are put into a plan and published. At this point, the foundation for executing the project is put into place.

Requirements Definition & Design

Through existing documentation, Phase Zero results, interviews, and/or design sessions with users, management, and technical infrastructure teams, the project team develops an understanding of the business and infrastructure requirements. The Vested Group consultants will offer standard best practice solutions rather than simply capturing existing business processes to eventually model them in NetSuite.

The project team will define the format of the requirements gathering sessions, the documentation that will be produced, and the overall process. Once business requirements are defined for each area they are reviewed by The Vested Group consultants. A determination is made on whether NetSuite can address the business requirement. If it cannot, the requirement is considered a gap.

Solution Design

During this phase, the project is focused on analyzing the requirements and any gaps identified, documented business processes, all data and integration requirements, and breaking them down into components to create a system design. The workflow and supporting data and system requirements are reviewed for each group of proposed system users. These requirements are mapped into application screen flows and layout designs, which are then reviewed with key user representatives/SMEs. Supporting data, reporting, system interfaces, and technical requirements are reviewed based on the proposed application configurations and are then designed and documented.

If gaps are identified, The Vested Group consultants present alternatives to address each gap. For example, they could 1) suggest a business process change, 2) formulate a workaround, or 3) recommend a technical solution or customization. The Vested Group team will recommend one of the solutions for each gap. These will be reviewed with the project team and stakeholders, who will decide upon the solution.

At the end of the Project Initiation phase, it is critical that the project team has a documented agreement regarding the expected functionality of the system, any interdependencies, and its interfaces to other systems. This provides a functional baseline towards which the implementation team will work.

Application Configuration

During the Application configuration phase, the project team will take the information gathered during the design sessions and begin configuring the new instance. The objectives of this stage are to develop the NetSuite configurations, setup the system parameters according to design specifications, and integrate NetSuite with all other required outside applications to produce a demonstrable business solution. As the project team is performing the configurations, basic testing will be done to validate functionality within the individual modules or workflows. An iterative process will begin with each new setup scenario where super users will be brought in as needed to validate that the functionality is meeting all of the identified requirements.

Testing and Preparation

During the Testing and Preparation stage, the major objectives are to verify the system readiness against business features and performance requirements and to obtain system acceptance from the business sponsor before the final production rollout. Comprehensive unit and integration testing will be conducted. End-users are trained and the technical team completes any final configurations and modifications of the production environment and conversion of data. 

Unit Testing

Unit testing is performed in a non-production version of the NetSuite solution that the client users and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) will be able to access and test. During Unit Testing, core team members and SMEs will perform scripted processes in the NetSuite environment to ensure that the business requirements defined and configured in the previous phase are being met as planned.

Unit Test scripts, containing instructions for performing transactions and functions in NetSuite in order to demonstrate the required business functionality are created and finalized by the collective team.

Structured execution of the test scripts by the core team members and SMEs is managed and facilitated by The Vested Group consultants. The results of this testing are recorded. As time permits, discrepancies, or when the system produces a different result than expected, are addressed. The exit criteria for this phase will be a signed Unit Testing Acceptance Certificate.

Integration Testing

In Integration Testing, the project team members will perform scripted test processes in the NetSuite test environment to ensure that the business requirements defined in the previous phases are being met as planned. The main difference between Integration Testing and Unit Testing is the entire system will be tested rather than specific modules or functions. All workflows, cross-functional business processes, and integrations will be tested. End-to-end business processes will be tested and approved prior to the completion of this stage. The exit criteria for this phase will be a signed Integration Testing Acceptance Certificate.

User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

In UAT, super-users/SMEs and other users will execute scripted test processes in the NetSuite environment to ensure that all defined and agreed-upon business requirements are being met as planned. The main difference between UAT and the other testing phases is that the user community will see the completed, comprehensive solution at this point; all solution work should be completed and UAT should be a preview of production. All test scripts (and therefore all requirements) are tested to ensure that any previous changes to the system did not produce unexpected results in other areas. The exit criteria for this phase will be a signed User Acceptance Testing Acceptance Certificate.

Training

The Vested Group advocates a “Train the Trainer” approach. The Vested Group will train appropriate client personnel who will then conduct training of the user community.

Training of the core team will be performed as one-on-one training with The Vested Group consultants during configuration and Unit testing. The core team member will perform the training of the super-users/SMEs during Integration Testing and UAT but The Vested Group will assist as necessary. This will be a combination of informal side-by-side training and classroom training as required. End-user training is formal classroom training facilitated by the client.

Deployment

During Deployment, the solution is delivered to the client and all of the logistical preparations are made for the solution to be used by the end-users in the execution of their job functions. A pre-defined Go/No-Go process and list will be established and reviewed for sign-off. After go-live, any cleanup or monitoring of the solution in production is done.

Preparations are made for “go live” or the point where end-users enter transactions in the system in the course of their day-to-day work. These preparations could include activities such as preparing data for migrating from legacy systems by creating extract files. It would also include identifying new users that need to be set up in NetSuite. 

Deployment activities may take place during non-business hours to minimize inaccessibility to the production environment culminating with the “go live” event or the commencement of production activities by the end-users.

Support

In the Support phase, there is a defined period of support provided by The Vested Group consultants. This does not include the addition of new functionality. Even with the most thorough testing, there still may be some issues that need to be addressed once the solution is used in day-to-day operations. Also, this is typically a time where lessons learned in training by the end-users are reinforced. The main goal of the application support period is that the day-to-day business operations of the client are not unduly impacted by the solution.

Project Closeout

The Vested Group project manager will complete the final billing, release the staff from the project, and archive the project artifacts. The Project Closeout Meeting and the Execution of Final System Acceptance will complete the project.


The Vested Group

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