I’ve been contributing articles as an original member of the AITS Blogging Alliance for three years, so when I wrote “The Data Conversion Cycle: A guide to migrating transactions and other records for system implementation teams,” Editor in Chief John Friscia offered to edit it for me. Aside from a deplorable excess of commas, he seemed pretty happy with my work:
“All in all, you’ve done an exceptionally good job of making this book readable, and by that, I mean I was actually able to understand 90+% of what you were saying. For a book on this subject, that’s no easy feat.”
High praise indeed, from an English major! After the book was published, John asked to interview me. We sent questions and answers by Email, and the finished interview is here.
Thanks for everything, John!
Leigh Espy and I had a great time, talking for over an hour last week. The original plan was to do an interview over Skype, but we had technical difficulties so we switched to a regular phone call. I was worn out from getting up at 4:30 AM for a conference call, and I was getting somewhat incoherent. But Leigh is a fabulous interviewer and one of the nicest people you could ever meet, so we talked about everything from Sociology to Agile adoption. Since she lives in Memphis, I explained Elvis Presley’s connection to the origin of the ZIP code. We even talked a bit about my book. And then she wrote an article that makes me feel very appreciated!
Leigh is a wonderful writer, with excellent story-telling skills that come through in her articles. I hope you take the time to visit her site, Project Bliss. She also has some great downloads available – I recently used her project scope statement template on a new project. Highly recommended!
The interview is here. Thanks, Leigh!
My new book, “The Data Conversion Cycle: A guide to migrating transactions and other records, for system implementation teams,” is now available on Amazon.com in both Kindle format for $4.49 and paperback for $6.99. If you buy the paperback version, you can also buy the Kindle version for 99 cents in what Amazon calls “matchbook” pricing.
When asked for the most common sources of problems for software system implementation projects, experienced system implementers and consultants always list data conversion among their top three. Converting from one production record-keeping system to another is a challenge because you not only have a moving target; you also have a moving origin, as records are created and updated each day while the project is in progress. This book expands on a series of blog posts on The Practicing IT Project Manager website. Originally written for my project manager following, I extensively revised the content for a general business audience.
This book was designed to be a resource for project teams comprised of not just project managers and IT specialists, but the people working in the business areas who own and maintain the data records and will use the new systems. The goal was to provide a clear model expressed in a common language for a cross-functional team.
The first six chapters explain data conversion as an iterative process, from defining the scope to mapping source system records to the target system, to extraction and loading, to validation. This methodology works well with Agile methods, especially those involving iterative prototyping. However, it can also be used with more traditional planning-intensive approaches.
I also include a chapter on incorporating data conversion into the project planning process and a chapter on risk management. The risk management chapter starts with the basics and goes into considerable detail in identifying risks applicable to data conversion. The book includes an Appendix with an example output of a risk identification meeting and the types of information to include in a risk register. There is also a chapter on measuring progress when using this iterative approach, and a Glossary.
As always, thanks for reading my stuff.