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City and County of Broomfield Colorado Community Development Project – Third Party Project Management Approach for Software Implementation and Lessons Learned

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The City and County of Broomfield, Colorado (Broomfield) identified as part of their IT master planning effort that they required a new community development information system in order to improve the management and execution of the department's core processes of building and engineering permits, licenses, planning and zoning, and code compliance. Broomfield had previously implemented a system from the selected software vendor within their utility billing department, and due to the lessons learned from this implementation, they decided to take a different approach to launch the community development software system. An issue identified by Broomfield during the previous implementation was that major critical path items were not being addressed in an effective manner due to a gap in project management on both the Broomfield and vendor sides. Internal personnel had an excellent understanding of how their business processes currently functioned but they often had difficulty translating the details of these processes to the configuration of the software. The selected software vendor possessed a clear understanding of their products, but lacked the proper resources to effectively manage the implementation of their software. In order to address this gap, Broomfield decided to employ a third-party consulting firm to manage the implementation of the selected community development software. This presentation will describe the approach to using a third-party to project manage a utility's software implementation, through the City and County of Broomfield case study, and share keys to the project success as well as lessons learned.

There are several keys to success to implementing a software system with the three-party approach. First, it is critical to have clear definitions of roles/responsibilities of each party involved. To effectively manage the risk of communication breakdown, regular communication between all parties is critical. Other keys to success include the use of proven Project Management techniques such as the close tracking of issues, risks, action items, and the project schedule and addressing the human component of change with an organizational change management component of the project. Lastly, it is necessary to stress the business processes as the driver for the software solutions and integrate business process into the software training. The lessons learned resulting from the Broomfield software implementation included the recognition that system requirements needed to be actively managed and tracked, so there is clear traceability from each software requirement through final system configuration and implementation components‥ This presentation would benefit any utility that has encountered difficulty implementing complex software systems.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2008

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