Steering Committee Meeting Minutes
December 11, 2009
9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Sunflower Project Conference Room A, Docking State Office Bldg.

 

The meeting of the Sunflower Project Steering Committee was called to order by Duane Goossen. Mr. Goossen informed members that Carol Foreman is leaving the Department of Administration to serve a four-year term as a Workers Compensation Appeals Judge. He thanked Carol for all that she has done and is glad that she is staying in state government. He also reported that he has asked Carol to continue being a sponsor through the end of the project and she has agreed. Mr. Goossen remarked that with all of the cutbacks that are occurring in state government this project is one of the bright spots and getting very close to go-live. He thanked all Steering Committee members for helping to get us where we are. Kent Olson presented Carol Foreman with a card from the Sunflower Project team. The following persons were in attendance:

Duane Goossen, Secretary of Administration
Carol Foreman, Deputy Secretary of Administration
Joe Hennes, DISC
Kent Olson, Sunflower Project Director
Gary Schneider, Sunflower Project Implementation Manager
Peggy Hanna, Deputy Project Director
Dennis Williams, Department of Corrections
Judy Curtis, Department of Corrections
Chris Howe, Division of Purchases
Alice Knatt, Department on Aging
Marcia Ferrill, Department of Transportation
Diane Duffy, Board of Regents
Dick Koerth, Department of Wildlife and Parks
Cindy Hooper-Bears, State Treasurer
Jeff Peter, Judicial
Jim Conant, Department of Revenue
Paul Lavery, Accenture
Kirk Teal, Salvaggio Teal & Associates
Loren Westerdale, DISC
Becky Kersting, DISC
Connie Guerrero, Enterprise Readiness Team Manager, Sunflower Project

I.       Project Status & Activities

The meeting began with Sunflower Project Director Kent Olson going over the agenda for today’s meeting. Mr. Olson reported the he and Joe Hennes had recently attended the 2009 Annual Conference of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). Mr. Olson served on a panel with representatives from the State of Tennessee and the State of Ohio to talk about ERP Success Stories for managing budget and scope on projects in their respective States. He stated we have a lot of fans out there who want us to be successful and are watching our project to learn the recipe for success on how we work so well together here.

Project Timeline

Kent Olson gave an update on the overall status of the activities being conducted by the project team. The timeline displayed during the presentation now shows the entire remaining schedule since we are getting so close to go-live. Mr. Olson stated that over 200 agency staff members recently attended Workflow Workshops sponsored by the Finance team on December 3rd and 8th. He reported that Role Mapping workshops will be held after the first of the year. These workshops will explain the process used to assign employees to SMART security roles. Mr. Olson stated the Train-the-Trainer kick-off meeting will be at the end of January and Pilot Training kicks off in February. He stated this is the beginning of the all of the end-user training that will deploy in March 2010. Stage 6 interface testing begins in February and Gary Schneider will discuss the current status of interface testing during his updates later in the meeting. Mr. Olson pointed out that a Continuity of Operations exercise will occur in May and will be led by staff in the Division of Information Systems and Communications. The end of the timeline shows that SMART and SHARP will be loaded with production values in June to prepare for cutover.

Status of Testing

Mr. Olson informed Steering Committee members that system testing started on schedule. The initial test cycle (Cycle 0) is complete. Project team members are executing the test scripts in a lab that is located next door to today’s meeting room. Mr. Olson stated he would like to take Steering Committee members by the test lab at the conclusion of today’s meeting. He reported that team members are identifying defects as a part of their testing. The project team has a governance structure in place that meets on a daily basis to monitor the status of fixes and prioritize outstanding work being given to the Technical team for resolution. Cycle 1 testing began in November and will continue through January. This cycle has over 100 test scripts and tests simple end-to-end processing. Cycle 2 testing starts next week and continues through February. This cycle tests complex end-to-end business processing. Mr. Olson informed Steering Committee members that the project is developing options for agency participation in User Acceptance Testing, which will involve staff from some key agencies. Detailed information will be presented at the January 8th Steering Committee meeting.

Project Status and Activities – Test Phase

Kent Olson gave an update on the activities being performed by the four teams on the Sunflower Project. The Finance team led by Annette Witt is busy participating in system testing. Mr. Olson reported that he is impressed by the work that both state team members and Accenture are doing. As discussed earlier they also conducted the workflow workshops and serve as the subject matter experts reviewing training designs. Finance team members are also beginning work on agency CAFR reports. The project will be brining in these agencies so that they can work closely with us on the design.

The Enterprise Readiness team is preparing for the agency role mapping workshops being conducted in January. Gina Vinyard and her team are preparing for the train-the-trainer kick-off meeting in January. She also had selected agencies come in to review some of our training materials over the last several weeks. The Enterprise Readiness team has recently hired a help desk manager and procured help desk software that will be used by agencies to log incidents. Mr. Olson reminded members that this month’s Change Agent Network meeting was affected by the weather. The January newsletter is in process and agency readiness team members are meeting as requested with agencies to discuss issues.

The Technical team is busy fixing defects and making minor enhancements. The team was lagging behind due to slippage in some other areas so we added resources to prevent any further slippage. The technical team is also building data marts for the data warehouse. The next agency data warehouse advisory group meeting will be held in January. They will also be working with Joe Hennes group on planning for the disaster recovery exercise.
The Central Systems team worked with the Division of Budget to negotiate a contract with the IBARS vendor Affinity to do the modifications necessary to support the changes needed in IBARS due to the new Chart of Accounts. Staff members in the Division of Accounts and Reports led by Nancy Ruoff and staff in the Division of Information Systems and Communications led by Becky Kersting are working on SHARP II Cycle 1 system testing and performing SHARP modifications. The team is about 3 weeks behind but should be in a position where there is no impact on Cycle 7 integration system testing. The Time and Labor team is busy developing test scripts.
Next, Mr. Olson gave an update on several other activities that are in progress. He reported that we continue to have agencies come in to participate in monthly forums to address issues regarding interfaces and conversions. The team is also working on strategies for storing and securing sensitive data in the data warehouse. Options include masking the data or not including it at all. Connie Guerrero will discuss the status of the SMART Service Center that will provide SMART data entry services for small agencies to help alleviate their training and readiness activities. Mr. Olson stated that project leadership met with staff from six large agencies over the past two weeks. The meetings have given project leadership a good sense of these agencies readiness and overall have a good feeling these agencies are on track for a successful go-live.  

II. Fourth IV&V Review, Findings and Recommendations

Peggy Hanna informed members that the fourth IV&V review was conducted back in October. The IV&V vendors interviewed project staff and staff from selected agencies. They also reviewed various project related documentation. Overall, the review was very positive and the project remains healthy. However, they provided a few recommendations. First, they recommended that project leadership schedule more one-on-one time with key state agencies. Ms. Hanna reported they appreciated this feedback and really felt the recent meetings that were held with large agencies were very valuable and did lead to a few action items for project team members. The IV&V vendors are concerned about the number of test scripts being executed and the team’s ability to complete all of them on time. Ms. Hanna stated that although Cycle 1 and 2 have a large volume of test scripts it balances out in later cycles. She reported that the system test methodology provided by Accenture is good but the team will closely monitor progress on system test script execution. The final item was related to coordination of cutover activities with the new SHARP II hardware and any remaining network upgrades. Ms. Hanna said she had received assurances from DISC staff that their processes have these situations under control. Loren Westerdale informed members that the mainframe itself is only about 18 months old but it is on the old network. Mr. Westerdale assured members that we are okay on the SHARP II hardware.

III. Change Control

Ms. Hanna gave members an update on recent change requests that were presented to the Sunflower Project Change Control Board. She reported there were two change requests over $50K and credits of $187K since the last Steering Committee meeting. Ms. Hanna gave updates on a few of the change requests that were approved by the Change Control Board since the last meeting. Change Request (CR) #117 provides changes to the Time and Labor module so that hours worked by salaried (exempt) employees above 80 during a bi-weekly pay period can be tracked in Projects. CR #118 documents changes that were made to the data warehouse to get HR data imported into the warehouse from the SHARP system. A similar CR is in process for bringing over data from the SMART modules but Ms. Hanna indicated it is expected that there will be less work needed on these modules. Ms. Hanna pointed out the dollar amount remaining in the reserve fund to Steering Committee members. She informed members this includes credits from descoped work but it is money that we are contractually obligated to pay Accenture. Therefore, we are using the money on additional work that is identified and can be assigned to Accenture staff.

The first change order presented to the Steering Committee for approval was to for CR #113 to provide supplemental support to the state development team. Ms. Hanna reported that money to pay for this change request and the next one being discussed are coming out of the reserve fund dollars that we have to spend. The Department of Corrections asked for clarification on why this money needed to be spent. Ms. Hanna clarified that the contract negotiated with Accenture included a portion that was a fixed price. The items that have been taken out of scope come out of the fixed price portion of the contract so we are obligated to pay those dollars even if the work is not completed. This is why we want to use this money on things that are needed by the project and can utilize the resources provided by Accenture. Ms. Hanna went on to explain this CR allows the State to hire Accenture staff to work as state developers to help the state technical team catch up on work that has been assigned to them.   

The second change order is regarding limiting access to the Employee ID in various Finance modules. Ms. Hanna reported that this change will ensure that only employees in a business unit (agency) will have access to employee information for that agency. This change is a security feature that will prevent statewide access to sensitive information. The dollars for this change request will also come out of the reserve fund.
A total of 17,249 hours out of a possible 19,130 for modifications and enhancements has been authorized to date. Ms. Hanna indicated that we have used up 90% of the modification hours so we are being very frugal on the remaining hours and since we are running out of time to add new things there has to be a compelling reason for the change before it will be approved.

Peggy Hanna informed Steering Committee members there are two new proposed change requests open for discussion today.  The first request is from the Finance team for an additional environment that would be a copy of the test environment to be used for identifying and fixing defects. The total cost of the change request is $52K. There was no further discussion and the CR was approved.

The next change request presented was for a new ‘sandbox’ training environment where end users can practice entering transactions after completing instructor led training. Ms. Hanna stated that project leadership has heard from several Steering Committee members that they feel strongly about needing this environment because of the time lag between attendance at training and being able to actually enter data in SMART at go-live. Ms. Hanna reported there would have to be some boundaries on this environment and it would be a copy of the training environment and would not be fully configured with all agencies’ data. Because it would be based on a copy of the training environment the data would be familiar to agency staff that had just completed training. It is also likely the environment would only be accessible in the Docking Building testing lab and would require staff to sign up in advance. Ms. Hanna clarified that this environment would be in addition to any end user lab that would available at go-live where agencies could enter real transactions into a production environment. There was no further discussion and the CR was approved.

IV. Measuring Progress

Gary Schneider reported on the overall progress of key scope elements of the Project. Mr. Schneider reported the project is trending in the right direction. He pointed out the areas that were in red status last meeting are turning back to yellow or green. He stated that adding the two Accenture resources to be state developers was a good call and progress is already being seen.

Mr. Schneider went over the system testing sequence and schedule. He reported that we are in the thick of testing and will be for the next several months. He showed members the overlap between the system test and conversion test cycles and reported that test scripts are being executed in many areas. Interface testing has been in progress for the last three months and will continue into March. Mr. Schneider reported that Annette Witt, Finance Team Manager, is putting together a matrix of all agencies and their usage of SMART modules to make a decision on what agencies will be involved in the User Acceptance test cycle since it is not possible for all agencies to participate.   

Overall, there will be ten testing cycles of increasing complexity. Cycle 1 which is for simple end-to-end processing has around 150 test scripts and Cycle 2 is for testing complex end-to-end processing. Mr. Schneider stated that Interfunds would be an example of something that will be tested during Cycle 2. He reported that overall Cycle 1 is going well except for a few initial problems with security not being set up correctly and some issues with budget checking. Mr. Schneider directed Steering Committee members to look at a large version of the overall test cycle that is located on the wall of the conference room. He told members the project would provide any of them with a copy of the schedule if they would like to have one.

Next, Mr. Schneider went over the timelines for interface and conversion testing. He reported that we have a number of agencies that did not participate in Mock 1 conversion testing. Mr. Schneider stated that he and representatives from the interface, conversion, agency readiness and project management team are meeting every two weeks to go over the readiness status (scorecard) of agencies that are scheduled to participate in interface and/or conversion testing. Agencies falling behind are being contacted on a regular basis in order to help get them back on track. Dennis Williams from the Department of Corrections requested to receive readiness scorecards for all correctional facilities, KCI and for the Department of Corrections. Connie Guerrero will follow-up and provide Mr. Williams with this information. 

Stage 1 interface testing is over for the most part. There are still a few agencies that did not complete testing of the INF01. Stage 2 and Stage 3 testing has begun and we are behind in certain areas of the testing. Some of the lag is due to changes that are being made to the interface programs. As mentioned earlier, there was a meeting to go over status and identify which interface and conversion agencies are in red or yellow status in order to determine the method needed for follow-up.

Mr. Schneider reported there a variety of events being held to support agency staff involved in interface and conversion efforts. He indicated the project recently held a workshop for the INF44 (deposits) interface. The project continues to hold monthly interface and conversion meetings. Stage 2 and Stage 3 interface testing was recently extended by give weeks to give agencies additional time to test and to compensate for some changes to the INF44 interface. However, this means that agencies need to finish up their part of the testing by the end of December and if they cannot they must provide the project with information to show how they will be finished by January 15th which is the drop-dead date for finalizing this cycle. A lab environment will be in place for agencies to participate in Stage 6 interface testing. During this phase agencies will send in transactions and then functional staff from the agency will come into the lab to fix errors to begin learning troubleshooting techniques. This work will occur on specific Fridays after the first of the year. Mr. Schneider reported that the project will be providing a semi-cleansed converted vendor file that includes all 250,000 vendors based on agency requests for a full size file. Based on agency feedback, the project is also building a mini-batch schedule to cycle vendor interfaces, payments and deposits on a regular and frequent basis to simulate agency transaction processing.

V. Agency Reporting Needs and Sensitive Data

Mr. Schneider gave an update on the status of the agency reporting strategy. The deadline for agencies to compare and identify reporting gaps is today. The project is currently reviewing the information already submitted by agencies. If available reports are very close to the agencies needs we will recommend using what is already available. If no report is available then agency ‘super users’ may be able to develop the report in the data warehouse or the Sunflower Project team will develop a new report. Mr. Schneider reported this is an unknown area of scope but we still feel it will be manageable. Dennis Williams asked who is doing this analysis. Mr. Schneider reported the Vickie Hemmen is leading the effort on the state side. 

Approximately sixty agencies were selected to complete a survey to identify if there is any sensitive data that would need to be restricted within their agency (business unit). Upon reviewing the results it has been determined there is no systematic way to manage securing this information from selected end user’s within a business unit. The solution being recommended is for agencies to restrict employee access to sensitive data by using restricted queries/reports/dashboards developed by agency designated power users. Therefore, if a report needs to include sensitive data then the agency can determine who has access to run the report.

Mr. Schneider went on to explain the role of the agency power user. Depending on the size of an agency, each agency will designate one to three power users. These individuals must have a good understanding of the data. They will also be responsible for limiting access to sensitive data within their agency and be the contact point in their agency for issues and concerns related to the data warehouse. Mr. Schneider indicated the project will be providing training on the data warehouse tools, however, agencies may also want to look into taking the five-day course offered through the software vendor Oracle. 

VI. Cutover Planning

Gary Schneider reported the project is working on developing a detailed cutover calendar that shows cutover activities for all of the central systems (STARS, SOKi, SHARP and SMART). Highlights of the cutover calendar will be shared at the January Change Agent Network meeting by Pam Fink who is the state lead for cutover planning. A template showing key central system cutover dates and activities that affect agencies will be provided in January. Agencies will be requested to take our template and download it so that agency specific items can be added and tracked. Agencies are also being encouraged to hold monthly cutover meetings to coordinate their activities.

VII. Agency Interactions, Service Center, Agency Readiness and Up Coming Agency Events

Agency Interactions

Connie Guerrero gave an update on recent meetings that have been held with selected agencies. She reported staff met with the Attorney General’s Office to discuss a new payment interface that will come from a new programmatic system they are implementing related to Crime Victims. The team has also discussed usage of the projects module with the Department of Education and the travel and expense module with staff from the legislature. Team members also met Tracy Herrick the new Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Commerce and Julie Pennington who is the replacement for Randy Tongier who recently retired from Legislative Post Audit.

SMART Service Center

Ms. Guerrero informed members the project held a kick-off meeting with small agencies that have been identified as potential candidates for usage of the SMART Service Center. She reminded members this service is geared toward agencies with a small number of employees and low transactional volumes. She reported that agencies were informed they could have the Service Center perform all of their transactions or selected transactions. In addition, they will be able to inquire on their data and run reports. Next, Ms. Guerrero went over a list of agencies that have responded and determined how they plan on utilizing the Service Center. She reported there are still some agencies that have not responded and project team members are in the process of following up with them.

Readiness Assessments

Ms. Guerrero gave an update on the last Agency Readiness assessment that was conducted in September. Sixty-five agencies responded to questions that help the project team to identify risks across all agencies where additional attention is needed and it also helps identify agencies that may require additional attention. Ms. Guerrero reminded members that these results were being compiled while agencies were working on finalizing their budgets and were being asked to complete a number of configuration activities for the project. 

The assessment identified two areas of agency concerns. The first area was regarding agencies worried about their ability to complete all of the end user training that will be required to gain access to SMART. The other area was related to agencies’ ability to complete all of the required tasks and having enough information or knowledge about the new system to be able to complete the tasks. The agency readiness team provided agencies with some mitigation steps to help alleviate their concerns. Ms. Guerrero reported this information was provided to agencies at the November Change Agent Network meeting. The agency readiness team has modified the survey tool being used on the next readiness assessment in order to simplify the survey process and in an attempt to get a higher completion rate. Ms. Guerrero indicated the survey just released is an Excel spreadsheet and has been pre-populated with information from various project trackers. This includes information from the configuration tracker, interface testing status and conversion testing. The survey also identifies if a particular area is not applicable or if a response is required or optional. Survey results are due back by December 23rd. Ms. Guerrero provided Steering Committee members with a schedule of upcoming assessments and pointed out the frequency is increasing as we head into the final phases of the project.

Upcoming Agency Events

Connie Guerrero went over upcoming agency events during December and January. She reported that the interface team is now holding daily conference calls, Monday through Thursday from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. The next Change Agent Network meeting is scheduled for January 20th and Role Mapping Workshops begin on January 6th. Steering Committee members wanted to know if remote participation would be allowed for these workshops. Ms. Guerrero confirmed they would be allowed and information on the dates and times would be provided to members. 

Next Steering Committee Meeting

Mr. Olson ended the meeting by stating the project is running a marathon that is also a relay race. Each portion of the team hands off to the next team as we move throughout each phase. The training team is nearly ready to pick up the baton to carry through the end of the project. 

The next Steering Committee meeting will be on Friday, January 8, 2010 from 9:00 – 11:00 am in Room 102 of the Landon State Office Building. The meeting was adjourned.