Unrealistic timelines and pressures from Customer

This morning, we have a weekly update with the Customer on the progress for Phase B and like what I have expected, we come into the discussions of 2 critical items – to confirm the testing and deployment’s schedule with China for January and the update on the feasibility study for the vendor. 

For point #1 on the deployment schedule for China, we had highlighted in previous meetings that although we have a pending item to provide the information of the implementation to the China team, they can already start with their development works, not to mention our team is ready to perform unit testing with them in the later stage of our development.  For now, the Customer has been highlighting that the China team can only start off their development upon receiving our information.  In this situation, the Customer keeps on pressuring us for the document and it seems like they are having problems to manage the China team on keep off their involvments as well.  Nevertheless, with the inital timeline of our integration testing with the China team is still focusing on the first week of Jan’ 08.  I have doubts that we are not able to do this testing, with the initial 4 – 5 weeks of development’s effort by the China team in the inital plan, not to mention the efforts to setup the test environment and resources’ readiness especially in this period of festive holidays around the corner.  Back to the point, we have submitted the information to the Customer and now awaiting their update on the schedules for remaining activities (including integration testing)  before end of next week.

For point #2, we had a first kick-off discussion with another vendor (Vendor B) last week.  The whole discussion is focusing on the processes currently in-place between the Customer and Vendor B and derived out some alternatives to see how my employer’s solution is going to support them.  During the discussion, a few items have changed and we have to perform analysis to see if the solution is able to support these alternatives or we are to propose the best solutions to fit into these alternatives and related processes and main point is to enable these changes are consistent with the solution we are implementing without majar impact to daily Business as Usual processes.  At this point of discussion, the IT team is currently busy and using all resources to assist on the solution development and not to mention about the unit testing that we need to perform on before it can be released to me to perform more thorough testings.  Without the resources to do the analysis, in parallel with the solution development, a big concern rises on the possibility of slipping the inital timeline and with my past experiences I will forseen this will come up to be a “NOT ACCEPTABLE” response from the Customer ultimately.  I have gone throught this situation and being in the Customer’s shoes before and therefore there were sounds of ‘frustrations’ coming from their voice as we discussed further.  Probably they may have ‘over-committed’ some of the scopes and ‘overlooks’ some requirements.  My colleagues, on the other hand, are protecting the Company’s liability as not to derive any possible outcomes from the analysis without any inputs from our offshore team as well.  Right now, this issue has escalated to the senior management and they are having discussion later to see what to respond to the Customer.

Again, knowing that all resources are focusing on the delivery of the solution that also means that thorough testings must be fulfilled and commited by the team and the solution, once released must be ‘up-to-standard’ and full commitment from team on defect fixing during the first week of intergration testing (As written, this timeline is still not confirmed if we are able to meet it as need confirmation from Customer).  This is part of a strategy in order for the team to manage the pressures from both the Customer and Sales team, not to mention to support our reasons of not able to perform any analysis work during this period.

Should the outcome is to commit to perform analysis during this period, instead of kicking off in mid-January I will highlight the impacts it will have to the current solution we have done to support China’s team deployment in February and to see who is to be the risk owner to take up this risk impact.  Definately I can’t let IT team to bear all responsibility should anything goes wrong and this is to be highlighted 🙂


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December 2007
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