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Dynamics NAV Projects and the Need for Speed

Teams working on Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation projects need to maintain a fairly good cadence and velocity if they want to capture and maximize the opportunity for success.   Implementation teams that repeatedly dilly-dally during project execution expose themselves to elements that might put their Dynamics NAV project at risk.    What are these project risks and what can a team do to avoid falling asleep at the wheel and running off a mountain road?

Dynamics NAV project team members need to acquire a need for speed to be successfulOn Sunday I rode with a motorcycle club from the coastal desert range into the lower San Bernardino mountain range for lunch.   We started off in in the straits of the low land cities doing the stop and go light game.   After stopping for gas and some discussions about how painfully slow we were going we started migrating upwards to where the stop lights gave way to open chaparral desert and broad sweeping roads.  The new roads were not twisties but full throttle broad swishing strokes painted in the dessert.  It was obvious that the group had grown weary of the low land lights, because we were firing on all cylinders as we roared up the miles of tarmac, rhythmically sweeping back and forth like skiers coming down a newly fallen snowy slope.   After miles of traversing we finally were obliged to stop at a traffic light.  After we had stopped, M-Pat a wispy blonde and often animated lady rider on a big white Honda Goldwing unexpectedly turned my way, pumped her black leather glove in the air and declared “that is what I am talking about”; it was very clear, we all had acquired a need for speed. 

The need for speed can be acquired by anyone.  Jay Leno is no exception.  In 2007 Jay purchased the Y2K, the world’s fastest street legal motorcycle in the world. Powered by a jet fueled helicopter engine that can reach speeds of 250 miles per hour, the bike is not for the faint of heart.    As Jay states in the “The Need for Speed” a 2008 National Geographic special, “Is there anything dangerous about it? Yes, it’s a motorcycle with a jet in it! It runs on jet fuel. You cannot get any more dangerous than that!”  Wow, do you think that Jay has a need for speed if he is riding a motorcycle with a jet engine?

Project teams need not propel their projects to record breaking speeds with jet engines like Jay Leno, but teams do need to acquire a need for speed and inject a satisfactory level of urgency in their project execution if they want to move at a consistently good clip and deliver more bang for the buck.    Teams delivering at a velocity that was lower than planned and promised are at risk of higher story point costs.     If story point costs escalate due to lower than planned velocity, then the project manager may be forced to balance the cost constraint of the project by cutting solution scope from the project.   If enough solution scope is removed from the project then the project may fail to deliver enough business value to meet the needs of the client.

What can a project team do to acquire the need for speed and reduce project risks?  Teams need to be aware of their environment and identify, document, and analyze their velocity based upon reliable indicators much like a motorcycle riders use speedometers to help determine velocity.   There are many dashboards available to project teams.  One of the best indicators to help determine velocity is the burndown chart .  Monitoring a burndown chart can help a team understand their velocity, which will allow them to better tweak their performance to meet the project’s requirements and deadlines.

Jay’s jet motorcycle is equipped with a dash unit that monitors the bike’s vital signs and performance including the speed, exhaust, tachometer, generator, and five other pages of information.   Makes sense, that those with the need for speed require indicators to help them reduce their risks and achieve their goals.



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