Background

Our client is national Newspaper and Magazine Publisher with over 85 titles with many printing sites across the UK. It also runs more than 700 web sites in its fast growing digital business.

The client implemented a Planning tool in 2009 and continued to improve it over time reaching 15 integrated models, multiple interfaces, and more than 900 reports at the end of 2016. With increase in database size and solution complexity, the old technology was no longer coping and system response time (or performance) was slow causing frustration. A migration to a new technology was required. The client was also taking the opportunity to introducing new improvements to the solution such as adding two new models, changing time granularity from monthly to daily, deleting unnecessary components, reviewing security, etc..

Before involving UXLI consultants, the client had tried to manage the project themselves and resourced the project with a team of contractors. After sixteen months, the project was behind schedule and over budget, and there was little clarity on when the project would finish. Due to long delays, there was a strong pressure on the project and the client was considering stopping the project permanently.

Within this context, the client asked for help from UXLI consultants.

Approach

Given the strong pressure on time, UXLI consultants proposed a number of actions to bring the project back on track.

Agreement on scope was critical. For that, the Design Authority team was established with the aim to produce the Solution Design document within two months. The Design Authority also prepared the Component Register listing all components in scope (the backlog); these important documents were critical for project management as it created the foundation for scope and time management during the subsequent phases of the project.

Deployment was done in Agile by two scrums, model by model, in a total of 20 sprints of 2 to 6 weeks – sprint size varied depending on complexity and number of components of each model. Each spring involved build, data migration, security configuration, and testing. Training on new technology was done in parallel by a dedicated training team.

Benefits

The project was completed within seven months (two months of design and five months of deployment) after UXLI consultants were brought in, with parts of the new technology delivered after only three months

Around 500 users are now benefiting from a more modern and robust Planning tool that is able to support an efficient and effective Long-term Planning, Annual Budgeting and Rolling Forecasting process. Management reports run quickly and reports are available in the granularity that is needed to manage performance of the business.

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