Well I got to finish this one.

After just 2 hours of sleep - nap if some would call it, I was on the 5:10am flight to Zamboanga this morning. After 1 hour and 30 minutes, we landed in Zamboanga, with lots of uniformed and armed policemen. later found out that the chief of the Philippine National Police was my co-passenger.

I rented a van an instructed the driver to bring me to this Nature resort - Woodland somewhere in Zambowood. Well those names sounded like I was and in Singapore.

It was a quiet, relaxing, early morning ride along a narrow road lined with big trees - perhaps, the resort is speaking for itself. Then I remembered the reason why I am here in Zamboanga today - this site's cutover is already delayed for four (4) days now. My team on site - reporting to me myriad of concerns since day one of their arrival (they came 5 days earlier).

I have recommended to the Project Steering Committee in the previous week when I was in Davao that Zamboanga cutover had to be delayed - reasons? Data are simply not signed-off, too much revision requests, poorly prepared, templates not properly filled up, customer master not cleaned up and to simply put it: Data Prep was a mess in this side of the world.

This project involves all of the key functions of my client's organization. We segregated the main activities into three (3) components; Pre-work (Data Preparation) to be managed by the Sales Team, Legacy System cleanup and Migration to be managed by the IT/Technical Team, and the Site Users Training, Cutover and hand-holding support activities which I am managing together with the 12 Consultants we hired, trained in boot-camp and now roll-out experts.

This arrangement enabled us to move from each plants faster - however, this time (as in the case of the previous sites - but not this worse), data preparation activities were simply a failure. Unfortunately, the delay affected the balance activities, and recovering maybe impossible. Lesson learned - this is one of the reasons why companies such as my client, need third party resources/Consultants so that the required dirty work is surely done.

Well going back to the topic, data preparation plays a crucial role in achieving smooth system transition by ensuring all required data are accomplished and submitted, signed-off and cut-off. Data Prep is in the critical path of a project's first milestones.

After a checklist meeting with the whole Zamboanga Team, it was agreed that the migration be run today using 22-Nov transactions, and start the cutover activities tomorrow (Sat). It was a complete turn-around of events, and impressions. Most thought that at the rate preparations were going, Zamboanga may need another week to cutover.

Small victories despite the delay - I should be able to re-configure my next sites' deployment plan easily, and not as complex as earlier feared.

Still, it was a victory.