One Size Fits All – NOT

tshirtEver receive a T-shirt marked “one size fits all”?  These are great if you need to purchase a gift and have no idea what the appropriate size of the recipient is. Buy one of these, wrap, send, and done. Mission completed. Move on. No guilt because you met your goal: one birthday gift out the door and delivered on time.

But in reality, when the recipient of your all-purpose gift tried it on, it covered only the basics–that is, the recipient’s torso was covered from neck (or a little below the neck) to mid hip (or anywhere from waist to two inches above the knees). If you just look around the mall or your office–actually any place where people gather–you can see how many of us are the same size.  How could “one size” fit all?

However, if the recipient of your all-purpose T-shirt is also a candidate for Project Runway, he or she may have grabbed scissors and thread and tailored your gift into a perfect fit.

Software–including robust systems such as the Spitfire Project Management System–is much like the “one size fits all” T-shirt. Software is designed to fit a lot of general needs. Out-of-the-box, it can function fairly well and cover the basics, but with a little tailoring here and there, it can be a perfect fit.

For example, adding a column to a standard report may give you that one figure you need to determine if your project was both on time and on budget.  Or hiding a few document/form fields that you’ll never use in your business can get rid of the clutter and let you focus on just your important data.

In the implementation stage of any software product, new users are overwhelmed with learning new terminology and new navigation. Throw some “how do you want this to work?” questions into the mix and the usual answer is “we’ll just use it as it comes out-of-the-box.”  And six months to a year later, they are still working with that out-of-the-box decision (i.e., their T-shirt is still two inches above their knees).

If you settled for out-of-the-box decisions during your implementation, it is time to grab the scissors and thread and make it a perfect fit.  Ask your staff for suggestions: what could work better? are we missing anything? do we still do some things manually? Then plan an evaluation session with your software implementer. Working together you can achieve that perfect tailored fit.

This entry was posted in Implementation, Project Management and tagged by Dorothy McGovern. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dorothy McGovern

Dorothy McGovern (VP of Client Services at Spitfire) has been with Spitfire since Day 1. Prior to Spitfire, Dorothy worked at IBM and the National Aero Space Plane group at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (where she made a hole in one on the 18th hole on the same day she fell out of the golf cart. Since it was the 2nd time she had ever played golf, it seemed like a good day to retire from that sport.) The postings on this site are her own and don’t necessarily represent Spitfire's positions, strategies or opinions.

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