In The Diachronic Metadata Repository as a Tool for Risk Reduction via Conflict-Prevention During Legacy-to-ERP Conversions (Part 2) of this blog, Figures 6-8 showed why it is probably true that when a Legacy-to-ERP conversion (LERCON) is either cancelled or allowed to come in late and over-budget, the root cause is failure of project management to foresee and forestall three kinds of conflict (procedural, substantive, and avoidable) in three different dimensions (socio-political, functional, and technical.) Figure 9 then asked the $64K question (or perhaps the $64M question, given the cost of large LERCONs these days): Does the large number of different actors in a LERCON mean that it is impossible to foresee and forestall virtually all conflict that will arise during a LERCON? OR Is it in fact possible to foresee and forestall conflict by getting all LERCON players to agree in advance on a consensual process-model that will govern all activities undetaken by all actors once the LERCON begins? As suggested in Figure 10: Figure 10 the answer to this question depends on whether project management can convince all actors in their LERCON that: “Over-the-top” selfishness will not be tolerated; Whatever actors might hope to gain by acting selfishly will instead be given to them in the form of rewards for acting unselfishly (performance bonuses, add-on work, new work, etc.) If project management can convince their players to take these two “operating principles” seriously, then the problem of getting LERCON players to agree in advance on a consensual process-model reduces to convincing them that There does, in fact, exist a model whose internal logic is not only objectively unassailable, but also supportive of all players’ non-selfish objectives (i.e. objectives related to getting the job done well, not to filling the most “seats” with the most “butts”, etc.) And as Figure 10 also suggests, strong arguments can be made for the claim that no consensual process-model can hope to address all the needs of all LERCON players unless it is constructed around the notion of a Diachronic Metadata Repository (DMDR) with an internal structure like that shown in Figure 11. Figure 11 (Note: “Slide 7” in this figure refers to Figure 7 in The Diachronic Metadata Repository as a Tool for Risk Reduction via Conflict-Prevention During Legacy-to-ERP Conversions (Part 2) of this blog, but for readers’ convenience, this figure is repeated below as Figure 11a.) Figure 11a What exactly is Figure 11 trying to convey? Well, with reference to the upper-left (AsIsBusinessFunction) and upper-right (ToBeBusinessFunction) cells of the DMDR matrix, Figure 11 asserts first that no private or public sector entity should even consider beginning a LERCON unless it can represent its business functionality as a coherent hierarchical tree like that shown on the left in Figure 11b: Figure 11b: Second, Figure 11 asserts that no private or public sector entity should even consider beginning a LERCON unless its ERP vendor can represent its business functionality as a coherent hierarchical tree like that shown on the right in Figure 11b. (Can SAP do this? To a certain extent “yes”, but in some respects “no”.) Third, Figure 11 asserts that no private or public sector entity should even consider beginning a LERCON until the two trees shown in Figure 11b are stored in two relational tables that can be related by an intersection table like that showwn in Figure 11c. Figure 11c Fourth, Figure 11 asserts that no private or public sector entity should even consider beginning a LERCON until the two tables and intersection tables shown in Figure 11c are front-ended by a web application that Permits designated project staff to dynamically create the required 1:1, 1:M, M:1, and M:M associations among the AsIs and ToBe tables shown in Figure 11c; Permits these associations to be stored in the intersection table shown in Figure 11c; Permits versioning of these associations and their status (i.e. suggested, approved, disapproved); Permits all project staff to view the two tables and their associations as they’re created. Well, I’m sure I’ve offended enough people for one day, so more on Figure 11 tomorrow.