Solution Decision Phase



To make a decision and sign a contract
Plan Phase Hold Kick Off Meeting Prepare Trial Documents

Trial Functionality

Trial Technology

Review Final Requirements Prepare Gap Analysis Carry out Referenece Checks Create Implementation Activity List
Identify Infrastructure Requirements Develop Options Produce Final Business Case Approve Business Case
Negotiate Final Price Finalise Contract Produce System Decision Report Plan Configuration and Customisation Phase
Business Process Gate Configuration and Customisation Gate        
Ongoing Project Management
Solution Evaluation Report
  • Implementation Activity List
  • Infrastructure Requirements
  • Solution Options
  • Final Business Case
  • Solution Decision Report
  • Gap Analysis
  • Signed contract
  • Solution to implement
A key timing consideration is how many packages you want to review. The best approach is to start with the most likely solution and after the trial, if you are still convinced that you have the best solution, proceed to purchase and then advise the other vendor they were unsuccessful. If things break down between trial and contract you can fall back to the second vendor. Of course if there are a number of equally suitable packages, you need to evaluate them all.

One delaying factor may be organising the trial. The documentation is relatively straight forward to arrange however there may be issues in setting up the software and arranging technical people from the vendor to attend. Much of the other planning work can occur in advance. For example, you can start on the Implementation Activity List before the trial, as well as looking at options and working on the Business Case. The Infrastructure Requirements can also be started early.

The approval of the Business Case can be another factor causing delay. Where possible, you should alert the people who will be required to approve the case that they will be required to review the case on a certain date.

Overall, the phase is likely to take 4 to 8 weeks to complete for a substantial package.

  • Project Manager
  • Sponsor
  • Business Analyst
  • Business Representatives
  • Business Users
  • Technical Experts
  • Vendors (Sales and Technical Staff)

The main impact on the work in this phase will relate to how the company makes a decision on the final package. If a business case needs to be prepared, that will take time. Approval may be even longer. Work done earlier will assist with the contract negotiation. It should already have been reviewed and many of the terms and conditions already discussed.

Much of the work can be done sequentially. One group of people can be reviewing infrastructure while another does reference checking. This can speed up the phase.

Having looked at the solution on paper, and seen a demonstration you now compare it with your requirements. This has the added benefit that you are probably working with the vendor's technical staff who tend to be more forthcoming with comments about the product.

Once the trial is complete, you revise your requirements in light of the trial, and prepare a gap analysis to identify where the package fits and doesn't fit in relation to your needs. After looking at infrastructure and implementations, you will have enough knowledge to complete your costings for the project, and amend the preliminary business case to a final case. At the same time you will carry out reference checks to ensure you understand how the solution works, and was implemented in other organisations.

If it is possible, you should develop options as to how to proceed and these will be built into the business case. If the business case is approved, you can negotiate the final price and sign a contract. Having reviewed the draft contract, you will be aware of any contentious issues and have resolved them prior to the final contract being presented.

Schedule Gantt Chart A draft Microsoft Project plan for the phase. It lists activities and elapsed timeframes. Times are very approximate and may be significantly shorter or longer.

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