Steering Committee Meeting Minutes
February 12, 2010
9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Room 102, Landon State Office Bldg.

The meeting of the Sunflower Project Steering Committee was called to order by Duane Goossen. 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

Chris Howe, Division of Purchases

Dick Koerth, Department of Wildlife and Parks

Cindy Hooper Bears, State Treasurer

Jerry Sloan, Judicial Branch

Jim Conant, Department of Revenue

Dennis Williams, Department of Corrections

Judy Curtis, Department of Corrections

Alice Knatt, Department on Aging

Marcia Ferrill, Department of Transportation

Diane Duffy, Board of Regents

Paul Lavery, Accenture

Loren Westerdale, DISC

Becky Kersting, DISC

Connie Guerrero, Enterprise Readiness Team Manager, Sunflower Project

Mike Purcell, Project Management Office, Sunflower Project

I.       Project Status & Activities

Project Timeline

The meeting began with Kent Olson, Sunflower Project Director reminding Steering Committee members that we missed having a meeting last month but the project was in good shape so it made it feasible to cancel the meeting. Mr. Olson also introduced Mike Purcell who works in the Project Manager Office and is responsible for KITO reporting and other related project management activities.

Project Status and Activities

Mr. Olson gave an update on the overall status of the activities being conducted by the project team. He reported that role mapping was a big deal. Agencies worked hard to get their role mapping task turned in by the required due date. The training team recently conducted a kick-off meeting for Train the Trainer that included around sixty agency staff members who have volunteered to be trainers and drivers for SMART end-user training. The training team is also busy getting the results of role mapping entered into the SMART Student Center so agency staff can start registering for training soon.

 

Status of Testing

 

Kent Olson stated that system testing remains on schedule. Cycle 1, which included 141 test scripts related to simple end-to-end processing, is complete. Cycle 2 includes 118 scripts for complex end-to-end processing is 95% complete. Cycle 3, which tests simple end-to-end processing with converted data has also started.

Mr. Olson explained that project team members look at the status of testing on Monday and Tuesday to determine where we might be behind to determine where additional resources or extra hours might be needed to keep on schedule. Finance team staff from the State and Accenture and worked overtime to keep Cycle 2 on schedule. Mr. Olson indicated that Cindy Hooper Bears from the State Treasurer’s Office had participated in writing and executing test scripts during Test Cycle 2, which is nearly complete. Mr. Hooper Bears reported that she thought the testing process was a good opportunity and she found the development and finance team staff to be very responsive and patient. Mr. Olson reported the Finance team led by Annette Witt uses to testing process to uncover defects that they have to manage and prioritize the fixes with the technical team. He stated that the defects peaked out at their highest at around 100 in a given week but have recently stabilized to around 70 per week.

Project Status & Activities – Test Phase

 

Kent Olson an update on the activities being performed by the four teams on the Sunflower Project. Finance team members have been extremely busy conducting testing. The majority of the functional designs for the last few approved modifications and approved reports are complete. These designs are handed off to the technical team. Finance team members are also helping to develop the cutover plan that was announced in January. The project team is providing tools so that agencies can start planning for the cutover to SMART. Work on agency CAFR reports is continuing and a deliverable for this work is due on March 19. The Finance team has been working closely with the Department of Transportation, Kansas Lottery and KPERS to develop these reports. KDOT has received certificates of excellence on their existing CAFR reports so the project team wants to ensure the CAFR being designed for KDOT will meet these high standards. 

 

The Enterprise Readiness team is compiling the results of role mapping. The team received nearly 80 agency submissions on or near the deadline for the role mapping task. They are following up with agencies as needed to clarify and correct information in the role mapping task. As mentioned earlier, the training team held the Train-the-Trainer kick-off in late January. Many different agencies have volunteered trainers who represent a wide level of responsibility and understanding of exiting financial management processes. The ratings received by the training team for this event were very successful and averaged in the 90th percentile.

 

The Technical team continues to be responsive in fixing defects and making minor enhancements. Technical developers are nearly finished developing approved modifications. Mr. Olson reported the project team is not to add any additional modifications if at all possible and have started a list of items to be considered and prioritized after go-live. The technical team is also testing loading financial data into the data warehouse test environments. Already have human resource data in the warehouse. The technical team is also starting the process of incorporating staff from Joe Hennes’ team into project activities to ensure that knowledge transfer can occur prior to go-live. There is also a lot of work going on with the SHARP team to get ready for the cutover to SMART.

 

The Central Systems team is gearing up for Cycle 7 system testing which incorporates staff from Accounts and Reports, DISC and the Division of Personnel Services for the complete integration testing of SHARP and SMART. The Time and Labor team continues testing and will also coordinate their testing activities during Cycle 7. Cheri Froetschner in the Division of Budget is working with the project team and the IBARS vendor to develop modifications to IBARS and related interfaces due to the new Chart of Accounts. The Division of Budget will load appropriation budgets into SMART from IBARS when appropriation budgets are finalized in May.

 

Next, Mr. Olson gave an update on several other activities that are in progress. The Interface and Conversion team continues to hold monthly meetings to address issues and to provide a communication mechanism for agencies. The project management office continues to review project plans to assess interfacing agencies progress and readiness for go live. The data warehouse advisory group met recently. The reporting team has been analyzing the reporting gap information sent in by agencies. The SMART Service Center is working out well and has signed up around twenty agencies. Mr. Olson reported that work has begun on identification of the transition organization that will be used support SMART after go-live. As a result, the project is gearing up knowledge transfer activities to get staff suited up to manage the system as we get closer to go-live.  

 

II. IV&V Review, Findings and Recommendations

 

Kent Olson reported the project just received the fifth and final IV&V report. The project received an overall rating of being in very good health and the IV&V vendor from Sys Test labs used a football analogy to describe the health of the project. They reported the project is headed into the fourth quarter with a 10 point lead. Mr. Olson stated he wanted to maintain that lead and would not mind getting a few extra points. The IV&V vendor visited with fourteen agency personnel from four different agencies. They reported they received favorable comments from all of the agencies. They also reviewed fifty-three documents including various deliverable documents, the project risk log, project issue log and other project related documents. The IV&V vendor did provide recommendations for a few items. The first area was related to monitoring the workload assigned to the Finance team. Mr. Olson reported this team continues to have a lot of weight on their shoulders and really have not experienced a decrease in intensity for quite some time. The project continues to monitor and provide support where possible to this team. The next area was related to evaluating the resources requirements to maintain the data warehouse. Mr. Olson stated that Accenture had provided four resources to our one state person that is currently assigned to support the data warehouse post go-live to help the team stay on track. The last area was related to developing and implementing standard operating procedures for maintaining SMART. Mr. Olson reported that work has begun to ensure that the system is supported and maintained appropriately upon go-live.

 

III. Change Control

 

Gary Schneider gave members an update on recent change requests that were presented to the Sunflower Project Change Control Board. The change request for Set-off integration with SMART was authorized as time and materials and came in 596 hours below budget so $116K was credited back to the bucket. Two reports were cancelled which also resulted in a credit of $12K. The Finance team also determined that they did not want to move forward with the copy of the test environment that was approved in concept by the Steering Committee in December and the estimated cost for the training sandbox environment decreased by $25K and came in much less than expected. Mr. Schneider stated that for the most part we are in a code freeze situation so there should be very few additional change requests coming forward. 

 

Mr. Schneider informed Steering Committee members about a couple of change requests that came near the dollar level that need to be approved by the committee. The first set of change requests relate to cash control for shared funds. It was determined that these changes would be split into a two–step approach. The first step is for a manual reporting process that will be implemented prior to go-live. A second CR was authorized to implement an automated cash control solution that is being developed but will not be implemented until after go-live. The next change request related to modifying P-card processing. This request is the largest one that was approved this month and is estimated at $44K. This request would establish a field on the cardholder profile page that could be used to capture control accounts associated to p-cards.

 

A total of 18,229 hours out of a possible 19,130 for modifications and enhancements has been authorized to date. Mr. Schneider reported that overall we are in good shape on the usage of modification hours at this point of the project. He indicated there are around 900 hours left and only a couple of unknowns with one being data extracts from SMART into the data warehouse. Mr. Schneider stated he does not expect a lot of impacts because we have not made many changes on the Finance side. He also reported that the State technical team has gained a much better understanding of the development tools and have been able to take on more of the work. He stated he did not foresee any change requests coming before the Steering Committee next month.

 

IV. Cutover Planning

 

Gary Schneider reported a detailed cutover planning calendar has been developed for all central systems. The highlights of this calendar were shared with agencies at the January Change Agent Network (CAN) meeting. He stated a downloadable version of and template to sync agency cutover activities to project activities is available on the SMART website at www.da.ks.gov/smart. He recommended that agencies hold regular meetings to coordinate their cutover activities.

 

Mr. Schneider went over a graphic that included a high-level timeline of cutover activities. He reported the timeline was recently presented at the CAN meeting. Mr. Schneider pointed out a few key milestones on the timeline including the last day to enter STARS transactions will be June 29. July 6 will be the last day to enter deposits into SOKi and the SHARP system cutover is scheduled to occur on June 23. He pointed out that during May the project team will be working on setting up security to SMART and the final closing of STARS including closing balances will occur in July.

 

The next slide included an example of the downloadable agency cutover calendar that is available on the SMART website. Mr. Schneider stated that it is important that agencies are as ready as the Sunflower Project is as we approach go-live and having a structure in place will help ensure that all agencies are successful.

 

V.  Measuring Progress

 

Gary Schneider reported on the overall progress of key scope elements of the Project. He stated the overall the majority of work streams continue to trend on track or in ‘green’ status. All test scripts except for new things that have came up are complete. Nearly all functional designs for reports are complete. Still working on functional designs for reports requested in change requests that were recently approved. All functional designs for approved modifications are complete or in progress. Mr. Schneider stated that the project is in a code freeze unless the change is approved and needed for go-live. Vendor conversion is complete. This was a big deal as over 200,000 vendors are being converted into SMART. The technical team will be working on the design and build of reports into April so this task will remain in yellow status until the work is complete. Finally, the training phase 2 build is on track but the training team is putting a lot of hours to keep on schedule.

 

Mr. Schneider reported the project continues to receive a few agency request forms and some of them are being pursued for go-live and others are being put on a list of phase 2 activities.

 

The next slide presented included a depiction of the test sequences and schedule for the project. Mr. Schneider stated that he presented this slide for the first time about nine months ago. The project has really been sticking to this schedule very tightly. He pointed out that interface testing is scheduled to finish on March 15. However, SRS has been given an extension to the end of March for two of their interfaces.

 

Cycle 2, which includes complex end-to-end processing, is finishing today. Team members are already working on executing test scripts for test cycles 3, 4 and 5 and are also getting ready to start cycle 6. Mr. Schneider stated the team is about half way through the system test cycle and the project team monitors staffing on a daily basis to ensure the cycles are executed on time.

 

End User Testing begins in April 2010. A kick-off meeting is scheduled for March 24. Agencies were selected based on several types of criteria including those with a high usage of modules/ functionality, agencies decommissioning systems and losing major functionality, and interfacing agencies. There will probably be some agencies that feel left out but we are trying to include around 50 different agencies. Information about user acceptance testing will be included in the invitation that is being sent out. Some agencies may decide to opt out based on their workloads. Mr. Schneider stated that user acceptance testing does not include any provisions for an agency to say they do not accept the system. Jerry Sloan asked if agencies could decide what functionality they will test based on the expertise of their staff. Mr. Schneider reported the team is currently working on figuring out what processes each agency will test. However, he stated they did take into consideration if a modification was agency-specific and assigned that testing to the agency. Staff members who participate in testing will be following a very strict script that includes detailed step-by-step instructions and includes expected results for each step.

 

Interface testing is in stage 6, which is the last phase of agency interface testing. It is scheduled to complete in March. Overall, we have been getting a pretty good response from participating agencies and they are processing some big test files. The next slide included an overview that depicted each interfacing agencies progress towards completion. Mr. Schneider indicated that project team ranks the agencies via a color-coding schema of Red, Yellow and Green based on their current progress towards completing their interface testing on time. Agencies with a red status receive a phone call from Kent Olson or Gary. Agencies with yellow status receive a phone call Mike Purcell in the project management office. Mr. Schneider stated that all the project can do is monitor and try to get the agencies to meet the required deadlines.

 

Stage 6-interface testing includes testing which is very critical and way beyond vanilla testing and includes complex activities such as interfund testing and budget checking. The interface team continues to hold daily conference calls with agencies to talk about which interfaces ran and which ones had problems. Agencies can also hear common questions that are being asked by other agencies. The test lab is also open so that agencies can bring in their functional staff to learn how to fix interface errors on-line. Mr. Schneider stated that agencies that do not pass State 6 would not be permitted to interface into SMART. Agencies will have to affirm they went through approximately 70 different test conditions. A letter will be sent out on Monday, which is one month away from the deadline for completion of State 6 testing. The letter will reaffirm that agencies not passing this stage will not be permitted to interface transactions with SMART. If agencies do not pass this stage they will have two options including outputting transactions from their source systems and either manually keying them into SMART or use the available spreadsheet upload programs. After go-live agencies will work with DISC if they would like to interface with SMART. The logistics are still being developed and recently a couple of staff members from DISC have started working with the project team to begin working with interfacing agencies and to facilitate knowledge transfer for this process.

 

VI. Data Warehouse and Agency Reporting Needs

 

Gary Schneider provided an update on the status of data warehouse testing and data validation activities. He reported that SHARP data warehouse build is progressing on schedule. He indicated the SHARP team does have some resource constraints and need to ensure that they keep payroll going as their first priority. Next, they have responsibility for SHARP/SMART integration testing next and finally for testing human resource data in the warehouse. Functional testing of SHARP data is scheduled to begin later this month. The technical team is building agencies folders and security for SHARP and SMART data warehouses to allow agencies to keep their reports and to secure sensitive information. Diane Duffy inquired whether we are implementing two separate data warehouses or if it is two sets of data. Mr. Schneider reported that SHARP and SMART data will be separated into two different areas within the data warehouse and it will not initially be possible to build a request that includes data from both systems. Jerry Sloan stated he was disappointed that this was not going to be possible. Mr. Schneider stated that this capability is on the radar screen for the project team but will not be available at go-live.

 

Mr. Schneider gave a brief update on the agency reporting task. Approximately fifty agencies identified critical reporting gaps and the team has begun contacting these agencies to resolve the gaps. Agencies already contacted include SRS and the Department of Labor and the Department on Aging will be next. The team will take this information and determine how to resolve the identified gaps.

 

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

 

            Connie Guerrero provided an updated on the implementation of a Help Desk to support SMART end-users upon go-live. She reported that agencies were recently asked to designate help desk contacts and liaisons that will serve as the first point of contact within their agencies when end-users experience incidents with SMART. Help Desk contacts will build expertise over time and have an overall understanding of the incidents their agency is experiencing. A help desk kick-off meeting will be held on April 1 where Help Desk contacts will learn how to use the help desk web based tool Service Desk to log incidents.

 

            Ms. Guerrero also gave an update on the Service Center. She reminded members that the Service Center will be available to assist small agencies with entry of their transactions into SMART. Individual meetings are occurring with agencies identified as Service Center participants through March. There will be a meeting in April for all participating agencies to provide a high level overview of how the service center will work. Another meeting will be held in May will outline more specifically how the Service Center will work including forms and procedures.

            The project just recently completed reviewing the results of readiness assessment #3 that was due in December. Agency concerns identified in this assessment covered three areas of concern including training, workload and functionality. Ms. Guerrero pointed out some mitigation strategies that were shared with agencies at the January Change Agent Network meeting. These activities included small agencies considering usage of the Service Center for some or all of their transactions, prioritizing staff attending training so not all team members are out of the office at once and participating in project workshops, change agent network meetings and training. The next readiness assessment will be sent out on February 15 and is due back by March 1. 

 

            Upcoming agency events in February include Change Agent Network Meeting #9 on the 17th and the Monthly Conversion Meeting on the 25th. Events in March include the deployment of web-based training on the 1st, the Monthly Interface Meeting on the 9th, Change Agent Network Meeting #10 on the 17th and the Monthly Conversion Meeting on the 24th.

 

            Next Steering Committee Meeting

 

Paul Lavery commented that it is typical to have resource constraints at this point in a project. He used the analogy that the team is trying to run a sprint after completing a marathon. Dennis Williams asked a question about the savings that were reported on slide 12. He wanted to know if these dollars could be used to help interfacing agencies such as the Kansas Correctional Industries who are contracting with a vendor for their interface work. Mr. Schneider stated the project team would schedule a meeting with Mr. Williams to discuss the current situation with KCI and their vendor. Marcia Ferrell asked where agencies should be on their interface testing. Gary Schneider reported that at this phase of Stage 6 testing agencies should have completed approximately 30% of their testing. He also reported that some agencies had figured out that not all of the test conditions in Stage 6 applied to their agency, which has resulted in fewer test runs for these agencies.

 

The next Steering Committee meeting will be on Friday, March 12, 2009 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. The meeting was adjourned.

 

 


Page last modified on:  March 11, 2011