Process Documentation, Testing, Training and Conversion Checklists Galore!

In the seventh installation of our blog series on How to Implement a Business Management System, we will be covering some of the last phases of the implementation, including process documentation, testing, and training. Further, we will provide you with some helpful conversion checklists to ensure your end-result is a success!

If you haven’t read the first 6 parts of this series, you can access them through the links below.

  • Part 1 – Project Organization
  • Part 2 – An Introduction to the Planning Phase
  • Part 3 – Planning Details
  • Part 4 – Identifying Project Staff
  • Part 5 – Kick off!
  • Part 6 – The Pilot Project

Process Documentation

While you are testing, take good notes.  This is your opportunity to develop good user documentation.  Every computer system has some manuals (typically electronic).  The developer wrote these for the generic user.  You are not a generic user.  Your system has been setup for your company by saying “yes” to some options and “no” to others.  These choices obviously affect the result.  In addition, many fields can be used in a number of ways.  Document your choices as to how you will use them.  (Set your guidelines now, before users are under the pressure of a “go-live” day; when they can’t think because they feel they have forgotten everything they learned about the new system.)  Taking time to document your procedures will pay dividends for as long as you use this business management system.

Document, being sure to use consistent terminology, screen shots, lists and rules.  Writing these things down simplifies your life.  (My documentation for my NAV tasks is 42 pages long.)  You can always make changes in the future, but if the change is not what you want, you can always return to the baseline you established during the test phase.  One of the best things about standard procedures is that everyone knows which procedures they are to follow.  Putting standards in places means you get more consistent data entry; and data that is more consistent means you can make better business decisions based on that data because there is consistency.  In addition, you now have a sound foundation for your staff to make changes in a controlled environment; to try to find better ways to do tasks.  The standards you set now will help you determine if the change is beneficial, neutral or negative.

Testing, Training and More Testing

Depending on the complexity of your company and implementation, you may consider doing another test conversion at this point.  This will test all the fixes you implemented to the first test system and can provide you with a fresh set of data for your staff training.  Use the same process again, convert the system, take several days of work and enter it into both systems.

Do not skimp on training.  Set aside uninterrupted time for your staff to work with your trainer or VAR.  Training is mandatory.  Do not accept excuses.  Have makeup sessions for those who are absent.  Do not allow late arrival or early departures.  Set your phones to “Do Not Disturb”.  Don’t allow “One quick question”, not even from the President.  Consider doing this training at the VAR’s office to get a more conducive learning environment.  Consider proficiency tests for your staff.  Have at least one “super user” who has a strong understanding of the new business management system and your business requirements.  This user was probably involved through the whole process to this point.

Pre Go-Live Conversion Checklist

This list is similar to the list you will use when you go-live, but you must verify the elements two weeks before go-live in order to allow time to correct any problems.  An ERP Pre Go-Live Conversion Checklist may look like this:

  • Network & PC Users
    • Setup
    • Passwords set
    • Privileges granted as appropriate
  • Printers
    • Correctly named
    • Setup appropriate for task assigned
  • Backup
    • SQL maintenance job properly setup, tested and scheduled
    • New software and data included in daily backup system
    • Offsite backups scheduled and assigned
  • Preprinted forms & supplies
    • Adequate supply available for startup
    • Checks verified for account numbers and alignment
    • MICR toner cartridge available for check printing
    • Preprinted Invoices verified and available
    • Customer Statements verified and available
    • Purchase Orders verified and available
    • Properly sized barcode labels verified and available in appropriate printer
    • Barcode thermal ribbon available for barcode printer
  • ERP Users
    • Setup
    • Passwords set
    • Privileges granted as appropriate

 The Day before Go-Live Checklist

  • Accounts Receivables- Aged AR report of all open invoices, credit memos, checks printed
  • Accounts Payables- Aged AP report of all open invoices, credit memos printed
  • Inventory count & value
    • Inventory valuation printed
    • Balance equals General Ledger
  • General Ledger
    • Balance Sheet printed
    • P&L printed
    • Budgets printed
  • Open Purchase Orders printed
  • Open Sales Orders printed
  • Manufacturing open Production Orders printed