Project management methods by COSMO CONSULT

Here's how to find the right project methodology for your business

When it comes to project methodology, there is no such thing as right or wrong. It's more about figuring out which of the following approaches best suits your company.

1. Why agile methods allow you to react faster 

Putting people first and continuously making improvements – this is the quintessence of agile methods and frameworks. It is achieved by means of brief feedback cycles at the various levels. 

In other words, agile projects do not involve any detailed plan spanning several months, nor is there any detailed catalog of requirements for the overall project. Instead, the focus is on the currently salient issues and requirements. Still, agile methods are very much systematic and organized. They are different from the waterfall concept, however. Our agile process models are based on scrum, the best-known framework for agile software development.  

2. Discovering and implementing project requirements 

The first project activities primarily revolve around "discovery" – in other words, getting to know the project partners and identifying the area of application and the objective. This is where "Clarity – Alignment – Commitment" comes into play – a foundational concept in agile projects. After all, in order to align oneself with an objective and then agree to it, you have to start by clearly defining it. At the end of an intensive discovery phase, all project participants have a commitment as to  

  • the objective being pursued and 
  • the approximate scope of what's required in order to achieve this purpose. 

Next, we add the "delivery" element. Now, the idea is to implement requirements in detail and deliver smaller subsections of the project. At the same time, the work of identifying requirements continues in the discovery area. 

3. Project planning should be detailed but flexible 

The first plan defines the objectives, i.e. what will be achieved and by when. This plan is fleshed out in detail, whereby the big objective is broken down into lots of smaller goals with short time horizons. Using this information, the implementation team can create a detailed plan for the next two to four weeks. The plan for the current day is produced in the daily team meeting. This planning cascade is necessary in order to respond quickly to changes.  

Agile processes accept uncertainties in the project and address them directly. This means that plans are perceived as an attempt to predict the future and thus require ongoing adjustments. 

4. Agile processes are more precise than waterfall models 

The results of agile methods are ultimately more precise than with waterfall models. Thanks to the short feedback cycles and the focus on people, they are better tailored to the needs of companies and employees.  

Agile projects are not completed faster. But you do start to see results sooner and are able to evaluate them and gain new insights based on them.  


COSMO Sure Step plus – project methodology according to the waterfall model

A successful ERP project is easy to recognize: all the goals are reached within the allotted time and budget. But oftentimes, particularly with large projects, there's a lot of uncertainty as to the structure and process at the outset. Which project phases would make sense? Who is responsible for what? What deadlines have to be accounted for? That's why all participants of a digitalization project should ideally stick to proven standards. 

For over 20 years, COSMO CONSULT has been working with a classical project management method which is geared to the Project Management Institute (PMI) standard. As a basis, we've taken the proven Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step and optimized it for our customers. The result is COSMO Sure Step plus. We consistently implement our projects according to this method. What this means for your digitalization plans is maximum transparency and security, whether your focus is on ERP, CRM, MWS, Business Intelligence (BI), proprietary apps or platforms. 

COSMO Sure Step is a phase-structured implementation method that provides a complete set of templates, tools and processes. It assists businesses with the introduction, optimization and upgrade of Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions. The ERP implementation is broken down into six phases, starting with the preliminary requirements analysis and spanning development, tests, set-up and training, all the way to follow-up maintenance of the system after it's operational. 

    Project management methods - Process

    What are the six phases of ERP implementation? 

    In the diagnostic phase, we work with your project team to establish the project goals, the details of the procedure, the object of the project and the framework conditions.  

    This becomes the foundation for the analysis phase. Its goal is to define the processes to be devised in the project. In addition, the resulting relevant functional and procedural requirements are applied. The results are documented in our shared tool (DevOps,) which is provided by Microsoft. This phase also includes many other activities, e.g.  

    • preparing and holding kick-off events 
    • standard training through the initial set-up of the systems and  
    • key-user training on the functions and processes.  

    Why the training?

    To give you a solid grasp of the new supporting and value-creating processes. We also make sure to integrate the project goal knowledge acquired thus far.  

    The processes adopted in the analysis are refined in detail in the design phase. This is where you define how your processes will be supported by the Microsoft solution. The main question that we're going to answer together is this: How can we adapt the system to your requirements – and where could we alternatively adjust the process or organization? The focus is both on your value-creating processes and on the software standard. 

    The results of this decision affect the subsequent development phase, in which the agreed system changes are implemented, gradually tested and trained. The development phase typically concludes with a test phase utilizing the processes of a cross-module test. 

    The core processes which start in the development phase and continue all the way to the implementation phase include what's known as "cut-over management". This is where all the steps required for a successful go-live are compiled and outlined. This can include, for example, joint organizational, functional or technical preparatory activities. The implementation phase also includes user training, final tests and the preparation of the systems. The goal is to ultimately reach go-live-readiness. That means being optimally prepared for a successful go-live. After adequate stabilization by the project team, the project is then taken up by COSMO CONSULT Customer Service for follow-up support. All of these phases include ongoing project management processes such as  

    • risk management 
    • ongoing coordination in the project boards 
    • cut-over management or 
    • change management. 

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