A question of quality

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Today I am one one the judges at the SAP Quality Awards 2007, and it promises to be a fascinating process.

Some of my early forays into IT journalism involved covering major ERP implementation failures - and the SAP quality awards are the result of one supplier's efforts to codify best practice around project management and implementation.

The criteria on which the awards will be judged are deceptively simple. Understanding business objectives as well as technical requirements, and agreeing what can be delivered in what timeframe - and how it can be measured.

Other criteria focus on collaborative working, agreeing project roles and responsibilities, getting the right people and skills in place, using a formal methodology, jointly identifiying risk and not making unnecessary modification to commercial off-the-shelf software.

It is all common sense - but it so often eludes organisations, their IT departments and their suppliers.

Some of Europe's biggest organisations have made the SAP shortlist. The UK is representated by BP, GlaxoSmithKline, Anglian Water, HM Revenue and Customs, TNT and the air traffic control organisation NATS.

Others include ESBIE from Ireland, EDF, Schneider Electric and Decathlon from France and Heineken Italia from Italy.

It will be good to see how UK organiations match up to their continental counterparts and how public sector-based projects match their private sector equivalents.

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