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Topics: IT Project Management, Scope Management, Scrum
The untold case story from the professional project managers (Episode 1)

Hi folks, I'm currently collecting the stories pieces from the project managers and make it become a series, with the purpose of sharing insights from what other PM has been facing. I hope this would bring value to you guys, and highly looking for feedback and recommendation to make this better :D !
About the contributor: Amr Kassem is a professional IT project manager, who started out as a developer (ITWorx INC.), moving on the Business Analysis area (in SunLife Financial and Underwriters Laborities), and finally working in the Project Management area of the industry.
A couple of years ago, we had a client implementation that was looking like an impossible task. The client had asked for a delivery milestone that was less than 15 weeks away, when:

1. The SOW had not been signed yet
2. Our typical implementation of this module was 18–20 weeks long ??

My challenge was two-fold:
- Implement this client’s project, based on our off-the-shelf module
- Set a new record for how quickly an implementation should go

My major risks were:
- Client would introduce changes that would throw a wrench in the schedule
- The delivery would be so fast, that we’ll deliver a system that no one will know how to use, by the time we launch
- Platform issues could case schedule delays?—?this was a medium risk


To mitigate the first risk,
A good amount of expectation management was set with the project’s main sponsor.
Since they were the ones who had the final say, I sincerely, and openly, said on one of our first meetings that our schedule is tight, and there is no room for changes.
If the date was the most important aspect, we’ll keep that, and any issues/changes/updates will need to be pushed for phase 2, that we agreed would take place shortly after the initial launch.
After all, they had a paper-based process now. ‘Any system you give us, will be better than anything we have today’… those were my client’s exact words.

To mitigate the second risk,
A separate training environment was setup that has nothing to do with our implementation environment.
Weekly training sessions were booked for the client team to see the system in action, ask questions and we gave them to opportunity to actually drive a few times.
The implementation itself was very fast-paced, but laser focused.
This is because of the initial agreement we had; date comes first, everything else second as long as they’re not showstoppers. I held my end on the showstoppers, the client held their end on the changes.
Luck was on our side as well, the implementation was rather smooth with a few hiccups, but nothing that our timeline did not allow us to fix.

Launch was successful with the client, and they were so happy that they came back and bought 4 more modules to implement, 2 for their own department, and two others for another department.

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