Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

A Great Train Ride

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The best implementation practice I came across for continuous rollout and enhancement of enterprise software in the super-large enterprise utilized a train as its central theme.


There were two types: passenger trains (like the nice Southern California Amtrak Surfliner above) and cargo trains. Passenger trains carried new users, business groups, or countries onto an existing service. Cargo trains delivered new functionality or business processes to the existing user community. And IT simply never allowed the two to be mixed together.

The IT department would lay out a 3 to 6 month schedule for the “train.” Businesses could “hop on-board.” But beware those groups eager to join the party but unable to stay on time! The schedule came with checkpoints – and any business that didn’t meet the exit criteria of the checkpoint was left behind. You know, at “the station” :) They had to wait for the next cycle, and everyone knew it. So what happened? Business groups fell in line with the well-communicated, stated objectives of the train, met their commitments to IT, and the whole company was better off.

You see, most trains run on time.

If you’re in IT inside a large organization consider using the approach for your next project. And by all means, let me know how it goes!


Written by Dave Stephens

02/21/06 5:22 PM at 5:22 pm

Posted in Historical, IT

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