The most common question on everyone’s mind when preparing to launch a new software system is How long will the stabilization period be? There’s no universal answer to this question and it all depends on the following three factors:
Often underestimated, the test period allows users to learn and “tame” the new system that you’re implementing. Like all learning in life, practice is crucial. Create an atmosphere to encourage learning and give your team enough time to fully understand the system. Set up a “War Room” where you’ll carry out the tests. This creates a dedicated environment for testing that allows users to separate their regular work from this special set of tasks. In addition, encourage users to perform tests directly in the warehouse. This step helps users validate the sequencing of operational steps, among other benefits.
Training is always an undervalued step in implementing new business systems. I don’t know why we think learning “on the spot” is the best way. Not only is it unhelpful, it’s also disrespectful to your team. Equip your team well to execute the stabilization period. It’s important that “super users” lead the training to demonstrate the team's ownership of new processes.
Go Live Preparation
Set objectives going into your launch date. It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll be able to get the same output numbers on Launch Day as you usually do. The team must adapt to new ways of performing tasks and operations. The more you prepare for go-live, the more you limit the uncertainty it can cause.
In addition, try to implement a soft go-live, or a pre-launch of the operations a day before a real go-live. This is usually done during the weekend by the team of super users and gives you more time to react to forgotten steps or unusual situations. Your team can gain confidence in the software, which reduces the length of the stabilization period.
Ensuring a shorter stabilization period requires attention to these three main areas. Good preparation will always be the key to success.