All Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers understand that upgrade projects can be a bit of a complex process. With a new upgrade released every year, there’s no denying that we all have a story where things didn’t go as planned, with unforeseen time wasted and money spent. But at the end of the day, product upgrades are essential for continuous efficiency and process improvement in your business. Whether you’re on version 3, 5, 2009, or 2013, there is a methodology for planning and we have a few ideas on how to manage a successful NAV upgrade.
We put together a webinar on 5 best practices that will help guide any company on the right path to a successful (and slightly less troublesome) upgrade. These concepts came directly from experienced Dynamics NAV project managers at Catapult, where we believe that good project management should be a collaborative approach between client and partner. Rather than having a plan dictated to you, we build it with you.
Here is a quick overview of the 5 best practices that will ensure your next NAV upgrade goes smoothly. And remember to keep scrolling down to watch the full webinar!
Plan for an Upgrade
It seems obvious but really proper planning is the best way to manage a successful NAV upgrade. There is no reason for upgrades to come as a surprise and then be forced to scramble to make the upgrade work to an artificial deadline. When you build a timeline with a long-range plan, you avoid the “hey, your version of NAV is no longer supported” surprise. Other key parts to remember when building this plan are end-user considerations, changes to the business structure, UAT (User Acceptance Training) and any enhancements you have planned to your system.
Build a Solid Team
One of the biggest risks in any project is teamwork. The key to having a fully rounded and successful team is to have the right people involved: an engaged internal leader, ‘super-users’ with an end-user focus, your partner and a few department leaders to make sure the whole business is on board. Watch the webinar to learn more about Trevor’s suggestions on how to build these relationships and where to invest your time.
From a partner’s perspective, the best thing that you can do, before starting the upgrade process, is to set aside some time for a complete analysis. Our most successful projects have happened when we have engaged with a client in an analysis of current business processes before the upgrade itself. It gives you, the client, more time to break out your processes and understand the cost and scope a lot better. Together you build a common goal, become a stronger team and even start to build some common terminology which makes communication a little easier!
Factor in NAV Complexity
In order to manage a successful NAV upgrade, you need to factor in the complexities that NAV brings into the picture. When it comes to configuration and customization, the possibilities with NAV are endless. One of the best ways to keep everything on track is to keep end-users engaged from the beginning and make sure development testing and client testing are built into your plan. Skip to 44:31 in the video below to learn more about this.
Communication is essential to having a project run smoothly. And the best way to start an upgrade off right is to have a project kickoff meeting with everyone involved in the upgrade itself – on the partner side and the client side. From there you decide how often you will meet, who is going to be involved and what the purpose of each meeting is. In the tail end of the video, Trevor shares a good communication tool called daPulse that works to initiate conversation instead of typical PM tools that require a “yes or no.” There are similar tools out there that do this but feel free to skip to the end of the video to learn about it.