The Elephant in the Room

How Many Elephants Can You Fit in a Room?

In most instances, we only have to ignore one elephant in the room at a time. But when it comes to the conversion or updating of investment systems and data, the room could end up packed with a passel of pachyderms if you’re not careful. Here are just the beginnings of the herd:

Elephant #1: Management oversights. No management team can manage everything. That’s where the expression slip through the cracks came from. That’s why you should seek proven process methodologies that combine domain experience with focused management expertise.

Elephant #2: Project management issues. Project management isn’t an art. It’s a science. Most project failures are attributable to ineffective or incomplete planning, execution, and/or documentation.

Elephant #3: Fear of bringing up certain topics. This is a vicious circle: No one wants to own the project, so it doesn’t get proper attention. Because it doesn’t get proper attention, few (if any) changes actually take place. Because the changes that do take place are marginal, they’re marginally beneficial. No one speaks up. And on it goes.

Elephant #4: Refusing to cooperate beyond silos. People love comfort zones and hate change. If they’re tasked with — and responsible for — anything more than the processes or responsibilities within their existing purview, fuggedaboudit. They’ll be reticent to take on an entire department, business unit, or enterprise. They won’t be comfortable adopt an overall business strategy as a starting point or measuring stick. And they won’t consider the customers who’ll be affected.

Elephant #5: Issues with vendors. Would you really invite the fox to manage the chicken coop? Testing a new system, for example, is considerably different from testing modifications to an existing system. If testing is done right the first time, the only people happier than you will be the investors whose money you manage.

Elephant #6: Capabilities of vendors and employees. Would you rather rent the experience of a proven consultant — or buy just one catastrophic experience of your own? If system implementations and data conversions are done right, you may never know the value. If they’re not, you may never recoup the cost.

Elephant #7: Personality conflicts. ‘Nuff said.

For the sake of your business (to say nothing of your office furniture), keep the elephant(s) out of the room. And whatever you do, don’t let them into your investment-conversion projects.

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