The QA teams performed a full integration test involving transactions between Buslog and CSM. All the stakeholders were involved in checking the results of the test, which turned out to be satisfactory. Both CSM and Buslog monitored the performance of the transaction, went through all business case scenarios, and verified the results. The results were satisfactory and were accepted by the order processing and ASN departments. Most importantly, the external customer, Buslog, was also satisfied.
The next step in the project plan was to do a stress testing involving 1,000 purchase orders a day. The stress testing was conducted for a week, with the speed and performance of the business process carefully monitored. During the process of stress testing, performance was an issue since it took half an hour to process 100 purchase orders. This was not acceptable to CSM. The business-to-business people were saying that the reason for such slow performance was either the network or the new order processing system. They needed a person who knew the ERP system as well as networking, systems administration, and business-to-business software to solve the problem. A special consultant was brought in to tune the system. The testers then signed off on the QA test plan.
The team worked on a transition document to explain the roles and responsibilities for maintenance of the system. End user training was scheduled for over a week to educate all employees involved with the new system. Buslog was satisfied with the test results. The system went through a phase of parallel testing, and then the operations team took over maintenance of the system. All documentation was handed over to the operations and IT teams.
The system went into production on schedule, and the project team celebrated the event by going out for dinner.
The project leaders used extensive testing to convince the customer that the project results were acceptable. Many kinds of projects involve demonstration or testing of some sort. Of course, the project leaders must ensure that the project deliverables will satisfy all of the testing and validation requirements. However, project leaders should develop a couple of other skills if they are to secure customer approval.
First, project leaders need to be able to understand the customer's culture. The better project leaders understand the customer's culture, the better they can lead the actual project development and the better they can convince the customer that things are fine. In other words, the actual deliverables of the project can be made more useful to the customer, and the customer's perception can be influenced. These activities, guided by an understanding of the customer, should culminate in customer acceptance of the project deliverables.
Second, project leaders frequently need to negotiate. This skill can be useful in many circumstances, such as agreeing on the charter terms and securing resources for project work. Project leaders might need to negotiate tradeoffs between some aspect of the project that is not fully developed versus another area in which the client can get more than he bargained for.
The B2B project team successfully addressed the technical part of securing customer acceptance by passing rigorous performance tests. They also created a transition document to help the customer use the system effectively, thereby successfully addressing the need for customer understanding.
A Project Leader Needs to:
Accept that understanding the customer is important in securing customer acceptance
Have the courage to rigorously prove that the project deliverables work correctly
Exercise the wisdom to negotiate tradeoffs to satisfy the client.
Now that the customer has accepted the project deliverables, it is time to proceed to project closing.