Selecting Software Similar to Planning a Wedding

Selecting software has many similarities to planning a wedding - right down to the uncertainty of whether or not you have chosen the right solution or, in the case of your wedding, partner to spend a lifetime with. To begin your search, you will need to define your objectives. Doing so will help you discover why you need to look for a solution in the first place.

There will always be people within your enterprise that will need to be included in the project. These are your stakeholders and subject matter experts. In addition, just like the good "mother- or father-in-law-to-be", your stakeholders have a deep interest in the project and will want to make sure that all of the organization's best interests are being considered. After all, if you do not get their buy-in now, they will certainly make your life difficult long after the implementation (wedding) is over.

Just like a wedding, software selection takes a lot of research and preparation. The first thing one does when planning a wedding is making a checklist. Having a list of all your requirements will help you to be sure you have not forgotten anything. Some of the basic requirements you should think about Your Wedding/Your Enterprise Software Selection:

- The dress/the tux out - of-the-box vs integrated;

- The flowers/the features;

- The bridesmaids or groomsmen /the type of support you'll require;

- The church /the functions.

The evaluation phase: trying it on for size: Finding the right solution takes time - and you will want to make the right choice the first time. In addition, like your husband- or wife-to-be, you cannot just pick the first one that comes along. The solution has to be the right fit. Do not turn your software selection into a shotgun wedding (so to speak) by taking the first solution and because you have got a tight deadline and the executives are breathing down your neck.

In a wedding, the selection is the part where the families get involved; all putting their two cents in because they feel they know more than you do. In software selection terms, this means taking the list of all your requirements, as well as your vendor responses to those requirements, and turning them into a decision model. Once that has been done, you will be able to see how they stack up to the other vendor's products.

Your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life - and at the office, so might be your software implementation. So to make sure your wedding/software implementation goes as planned, you will want to analyze and rank your choices to be sure you choose the solution that best fits your needs. Whether it's trying on dresses or tuxes (the functions), sampling the food (features), or auditioning the wedding bands (the type of support you'll require), there will always be one that suits you best.

Just because the vendor passed the test, it does not mean you shouldn't find out how other companies feel about its product and services. This is where you will want to request references. Talk to other organizations that purchased the same product. For your wedding, this is the part where you talk to every one of your married friends to ask, "Who did your dress, decorations, and flowers, and would you recommend them?" There are times when vendors may not handle your rejections very well. They will give you every reason in the book as to why you should reconsider their product. While you should take into account the information that your research has given you, rejected vendors deserve to know the reasons why their solution was not considered. Whatever the reasons are, you should let them know - and stand behind your decision. While this works for your software selection, rejecting - for example - your wedding band does not need to be as formal. You certainly would not want anything to mess up your big day, so tell it like it is: "Your band sucks, so we won't be needing you, thanks".

So, it was a fun and practical perspective on the process. If you do your research, you and your software solution stand a much better chance of still being smitten with each other for many years to come.