There is no shortage of challenges for retirement and pension fund organizations during a large scale IT project. For one of our smaller California-based clients, the challenges started at the beginning, but didn’t become evident until the project was underway. Exacerbating their situation was the fact that they had engaged with another consultant to help them mitigate risks and manage the project.
Working directly with the assistant retirement administrator, the retirement administrator, and the IT manager, our first task was to re-scope the software vendor’s proposal and contract until it was in line with the true needs of our client. This alone saved them $1.2 million right off the top.
Next, we identified other key areas needed for project refinement, and obtained approval from the client’s Board of Retirement for additional services and funding that had been missing from the original proposal.
As we got farther into our risk mitigation analysis, we discovered that the original RFP for the vendor services had been based on a generic template, and therefore lacked many specific details that reflected the true needs of the client.
We needed to backtrack through key areas such as retiree payroll, active member payroll, general ledger integration, and batch processes, and worked closely with the client on process re-engineering during the requirements confirmation.
As the implementation continued, we reviewed the software vendor’s services, with an eye toward the fact that the defect rate for the software was beginning to spike. We supported the client as they rejected the initial build, and spearheaded negotiations that, while they delayed the project, created more stringent quality standards.
Moving toward completion, we have had a significant QA role in helping to discern and translate the vendor’s documentation, which, at first, had been overly technical and difficult on end users. We have since helped them improve their methodology, and they are now producing simplified documentation. In addition, we have helped expand the user acceptance testing criteria in order to ensure our client receives all remaining software it requires.