Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

April 9, 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 Kent Olson. The following persons were in attendance:

Duane Goossen, Secretary of Administration
Carol Foreman, Department of Administration
Joe Hennes, DISC
Kent Olson, Sunflower Project Director
Gary Schneider, Sunflower Project Implementation Manager
Peggy Hanna, Deputy Project Director
Chris Howe, Department of Administration
Judy Curtis, Department of Corrections
Dennis Williams, Department of Corrections
Elaine Frisbie, Division of the Budget
Laura Howard, Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services
Alice Knatt, Department on Aging
Marcia Ferrill, Department of Transportation
Diane Duffy, Board of Regents
Alan Conroy, Legislative Research Department
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
    

Kent Olson began the meeting by stating the project has moved into a new phase with increased agency involvement. Training labs are full and agency staffs are in the test lab touching the system. Training ratings are being tracked but early reports are very positive. A kickoff for the help desk was held last week that mobilized a group of over 200 agency help desk contacts. This week the SMART infolist started out the week with 878 members and as of today we have 1,604 members. Mr. Olson went over today’s agenda.

Project Timeline
Kent Olson went over the Project Timeline. He reported the finish line is in sight and the project is on pace to finish strong and on schedule. He stated the project team members worked extra hours last week to finish key system test deliverables. End User Testing has started and around 30 agencies are working with the project to execute test scripts. Instructor led training started this week and agency staff are attending training in labs across the State. He pointed out that agencies have done a lot of work in defining configuration values.  

Mr. Olson reported that system testing is nearly complete and has gone very well. He pointed out a graphic on the slide the represents one of the tracking tools used by the project to track the completion of defects by module related to a specific test cycle. He reported that project staff members from all teams were rallying together to meet the deadlines for the test cycles 7, 8 and 9 that were completed last week.

The next slide included a graphic of the number of defects over time. Mr. Olson pointed out to Steering Committee member that defects had crept up during the month of March when testing increased but is now trending back in the right direction. The technical team worked hard to resolve a large number of defects over the last couple of weeks. Mr. Olson reported that the next slide includes a more detailed view of the severity and type of all defects. He showed the types of defects are not all related to development and includes things such as security and system configuration.

The project has started compiling a list of items to be included in regression testing. Regression testing will test functionality and reports that could not be tested during system test.

Project Status and Activities

Kent Olson gave an update on the status of activities that are being completed by each team on the project. Mr. Olson reported that the Finance Team is participating in dry-run activities that started this week. He indicated that Amy Kuck from Accenture is coordinating dry-run activities. Finance team members have also begun the process of testing SMART data in the data warehouse. State of Kansas finance team members are also helping to support end-user testing by being in the test lab to answer agency questions that occur while they are executing the test scripts. They also participated in help desk training to understand the responsibilities of Tier 2 help desk analysts. Mr. Olson stated that they are also loading agency configuration values that related to the item on the project timeline that was pointed out earlier.

Mr. Olson reported the Enterprise Readiness Team has deployed the majority of web-based training and instructor led training kicked off this week. He told Steering Committee members about the large number of boxes of training materials that are lining the pathways around his office in the Docking Building. Enterprise Readiness team members have conducted training for SMART help desk analysts that included instructions on using the software tool, how to complete password resets and customer service training. The team held a help desk kick-off for over 200 agency personnel. Mr. Olson stated that agency staff left feeling good about the tool. The next Change Agent Network meeting will be held on April 14. Joe Hennes will be the keynote speaker at the event. The next newsletter will be coming out soon. Mr. Olson pointed out that now that we are closer to go-live the newsletter is an important tool for agency end-users to read to keep them positive and motivated for deployment of the new system. The Enterprise Readiness team is coordinating a series of meetings with selected agencies to discuss readiness. Mr. Olson stated the meetings were a way for the project to say thank you for all of the hard work that agencies have completed and to discuss any issues or concerns that may be keeping agencies from being ready for go-live. He reported that status updates are expected every two weeks.

The Technical Team continues to finalize development on system modifications. This work is related to modifications that were most recently approved. The project is adding very few changes at this point since we are so close to go-live. Technical team members continue to complete report development of reports previously identified for go-live and will develop additional reports that are needed by agencies. They also participated in a disaster recovery/continuity exercise last week. Gary Schneider reported the team declared a disaster starting at 9:00 a.m. and was able to have the system up at the back-up site within a few hours. Loren Westerdale pointed out that if there had really been a disaster that destroyed the infrastructure in the Landon building the restore would have taken a longer time but that the exercise did indicate the process would work. The technical team has been conducting performance testing to ensure the system hardware has enough horsepower. Mr. Olson reported the technical team assisted agencies with data conversion processing during dry run and will be assisting during dress rehearsal. He stated they also support interface testing for central agencies and the remaining two agencies that are not completed with interface testing and that Gary Schneider will give an update on this during his portion of the presentation.

Mr. Olson stated that Central Systems team activities included the completion of test cycle 7, which included full integration testing between SMART and SHARP. Mr. Olson reported he was impressed by the amount of work completed by the Payroll Services team in the Division of Accounts and Reports. Recent testing also included integration testing with Time and Labor. Testing with the Division of Budget and their IBARS vendor Affinity is on going. The group is working to resolve remaining defects on IBARS interfaces. The payroll team continues working with Regents to test their payroll files. Mr. Olson reported these large files are very critical and need to work to ensure that Regents employees are paid. The team has also been focused on testing SHARP data in the data warehouse.

Kent Olson reported on other miscellaneous activities being performed by project team members. There are three more data conversion workshops and work continues on the agency reporting strategy to review critical reporting gaps identified by agencies. The SMART Service Center now has thirty-two agencies enrolled. A kick-off meeting will be held in early May to discuss forms and processes. Service Center team analysts will also be introduced to the agencies. Mr. Olson reported that work has begun on identifying production support processes including the roles and responsibilities of staff during the transition period. A KITO report was just submitted. All metrics on the report including budget, work plan, deliverables, etc were greater than 90% with the exception of resources, which was at 86%. This occurred because the project had added some additional scope and hours to the schedule but it does not mean we are behind. A finalized transition structure organization chart was distributed to project team members during a recent “all-hands” meeting. Mr. Olson stated this was a sensitive process and included conversations with all staff regarding their role in the transition structure and in the steady state. There were not enough positions for everyone and some project personnel have already begun accepting positions with agencies. 
 
II. Change Control
           
Peggy Hanna went over Change Orders that were approved since the last Steering Committee meeting. The numbers are very small, as we should not be adding anything big at this point in the project. She pointed out the line for CR 150 related to the automation for cash control budgets. The project has set aside $60K out of the modification bucket to complete this work that will be implemented post go-live. That leaves $5,624.30 in the modification bucket. Ms. Hanna stated that all remaining work would come out of the reserve pool, currently at $211K, which is the pool of money that has to be spent.

Steering Committee members were briefed on a new Change Request related to adding additional key data elements to the data warehouse. A diagram showing the flow of data from SMART and SHARP into the data warehouse was distributed. Ms. Hanna referred to the diagram and pointed out that the majority of data from the source systems exists in the staging area. However, not all of this data is included in the OBIEE layer is accessed via the data warehouse. The items from Purchasing that are missing would need to be there at go-live for it to be valuable to agencies. Ms. Hanna stated it is not surprising that data was missing but it was disappointing that some of these key data elements are not included. Paul Lavery commented that it is common to see some degree of customization on the data warehouse to make it fit the way your organization does business. Kirk Teal also stated that his most recent experience with the State of Tennessee was a slower rollout of the warehouse. He reported that Tennessee built more custom reports out of their production system and then updated the data warehouse later. Marcia Ferrill from the Department of Transportation inquired about when the list of data elements included in the warehouse would be available. Gary Schneider reported that data warehouse testing is scheduled to be completed by May 24 and that a list should be possible by then. The CR being requested at today’s meeting is to address the known and unknown deficiencies that still exist in the data warehouse. The costs could range between $25 and $50K but it is possible it could reach $75K. The Steering Committee was asked to authorize a CR for $50K before the work is initiated with a proviso that next month they would be provided with an update of the amount expended to date and an estimate for completion. Steering Committee members agreed that this work was important and wanted to see as much done as possible before go-live. The CR was approved.

Ms. Hanna updated members on an upcoming vulnerability assessment and penetration test to ensure that SMART and SHARP are secure from unauthorized access by State employees, the public and hackers. The project team and DISC drafted an RFP and although ten bids were received, only five of them were qualified. Bids ranged from $28K to $97K. The negotiations process is being wrapped up and includes Larry Kettlewell from DISC on the procurement negotiating committee. The vendor being selected is Plynt at a fixed-price cost of $45K. They were not the low bidder but they were also not the most expensive vendor. The work is tentatively scheduled to start on April 23 and finish on May 31. Ms. Hanna noted that Loren Westerdale in DISC has some concerns about the late start to this process and our ability to react to any major findings. She stated that as this vendor discovers any issues they will help us remediate it throughout the process rather than waiting to compile a comprehensive report at the end. However, the vendor will issue a report that will include all issues, including the already remediated ones. The group will also meet weekly to discuss any potential findings.

Cutover Activities

Peggy Hanna gave an update on the status of cutover prep activities. She stated this is an exciting time on the project and many team members and agencies are involved in these readiness activities. Dry Run just finished and includes the full sequence of cutover activities that actually span seven weeks. However, the dry run process was compressed to four weeks and includes just talking about some of the activities and some of them actually being conducted. There was also minimal agency involvement in dry run.    

Dress rehearsal started this week and includes full agency involvement.  Ms. Hanna reported that during dress rehearsal, activities will run 24/7 and events that are scheduled for the weekend will actually run over the weekend.  During dress rehearsal, agencies will also be coming in to verify their converted data in the system.  The next set of testing is for operational readiness testing (ORT) where the intent is to simulate operations in the production environment.  Ms. Hanna stated a kick-off meeting with agency ORT participants is scheduled for April 15   and the actual testing begins May 10.  During ORT, several of the large critical interface files will be executed including Department of Revenue’s large deposit files and KPERS’ membership payments.  The batch processing cycle will also be running.  Paul Lavery thanked agencies for all of their hard work on getting all of the interface testing completed.  He commented that agencies may have wondered why interface testing had to be done so early.  He pointed out that in order to be able to spend the months of April and May practicing for go-live interface testing had to be complete.  He mentioned that this ability to spend so much time practicing for go-live puts the project in a very good position for a successful cutover.   

Ms. Hanna then went over the high-level cutover timeline.  She indicated the SMART production environment build starts on June 1 and June 6 the STARS vendor file will be converted into SMART.  From this point until July 1, if agencies need any new vendors they will need to work with the Division of Accounts and Reports.  She pointed out some key dates on the timeline related to the last day to enter transactions in STARS and SOKI were based on needing a shortened concurrent period in order to achieve all of the cutover activities related to the implementation of SMART.  She noted this will be a tight period but this short of a concurrent processing period will only be for this one year during implementation.    Elaine Frisbie asked what the last day was to take care of encumbrances in STARS. Ms. Hanna reported that entries could be made in STARS until July 6.  She also indicated that all agencies can now enter DA107’s on-line. 

III. End User Testing, Interfaces and Operational Readiness Testing

Gary Schneider reported on the status of remaining approved modifications that are being built or designed.  He stated there are still nine functional modifications being worked and most of them are pretty small.   There are also additional reports that will continue to be designed, built and tested using state resources.  He indicated that we will continue to keep a report queue as new requirements are identified but not all of them will be done at go-live. There may be a few more modifications identified based on the final rounds of testing that are occurring.

Mr. Schneider went over a graphic that depicted the SMART system testing stages.  He pointed out that March was one of the busiest months for testing and April will be the busiest month for agencies as approximately thirty agencies are participating in end-user testing in our test lab.  The next slide displayed the interface and conversion timeline.  Mr. Schneider reported that
That interface testing is nearly complete.   Just a couple of agencies did not complete Stage 6 interface testing.  There was a lot of effort by interfacing agencies last month to meet the deadline for completion of interface testing.    KPERS and SRS are the only agencies still testing interfaces.  The work needed for the SRS interface is very minimal.  The KPERS testing is very challenging, as the monthly payments for their 70,000+ members have to happen within three days of receipt of the file.  Due to the large size of the file, we encountered some performance issues that caused the file to run for a long duration.  Mr. Schneider reported that Accenture brought in a performance expert and the file is now able to run in five to six hours.  He indicated the project team is still looking for other ways to improve this performance including the budget checking process.  The project team is meeting with John Oliver and Leland Breedlove from KPERS later today.

End-User testing started on April 5, 2010.  Mr. Schneider explained that we wanted to extend the testing process beyond the project team. The testing will be conducted in the project team’s test lab and will include over thirty agencies.   Some agencies that were invited were unable to participate in testing due to participation in training and outstanding work that they still need to complete to be ready for SMART.  State finance team members are in the test lab helping end-users with their test scripts.  Ms. Hanna reported that the help desk is also being piloted during end-user testing and for certain periods of time the finance team will leave the room and agencies that are participating in testing will log tickets much as they will in production and SMART help desk analysts will respond to the tickets. 

Mr. Schneider reported that Operational Readiness Testing (ORT) begins on May 10 and will run for three weeks.  ORT is intended to simulate operations in the production environment including help desk, nightly batch scheduling and interface processing.  A kick-off event is scheduled for April 15 at the Memorial Hall Auditorium.  A conference call was also held with the selected interfacing agencies that are participating in the testing to clarify and confirm their role in the ORT process.

Testing of SHARP and SMART data in the data warehouse is on going.  The Data Warehouse Advisory Group (DWAG) met on March 19 and developed dashboard components for SHARP.  Mr. Schneider stated the group did not experience the performance issues that had hindered this task at the prior DWAG meeting. He reported the group would be meeting again in May and would be using SMART data as testing of SMART data in the warehouse will be completed by this time.  There are still concerns about how agency Power Users will acquire sufficient knowledge of the data prior to go-live.  Next, Mr. Schneider gave Steering Committee members an update on the status of the Sunflower Project Team member review of the critical reporting gaps identified by agencies in Task 265.  He reported that some agency meetings to discuss the reports have already occurred and agencies that have not yet heard back from the project will be contacted in the next week to schedule a meeting.  Reporting gaps that are similar and identified by multiple agencies will resolved by having a centrally developed report.  Agency specific requirements that contain data elements found in the data warehouse will be developed by agency staff in late May or June once the data warehouse environment-reporting environment is available.  Any critical agency specific reports that cannot be developed in the data warehouse will be developed by the Sunflower Project.  Mr. Schneider reported that the data warehouse with SMART data will go-live in late July, 2010.

IV. Agency Readiness Activities

Connie Guerrero gave an update on the support methods that will be in place to assist SMART end-users. She reported that there will be a web-enabled software package available for agencies to log help desk tickets and there would also be a phone line that agency staff would use to get password resets and answers to questions if they are unable to log tickets in the software. SMART Help Desk analysts will be available to assist end-users during the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at go-live and would then revert to 8:00 am to 5:00 pm when the volume becomes more manageable. The name of the software package purchased by the project is ServiceDesk. It provides a web-based, self-service, searchable support for SMART Help Desk Contacts. Ms. Guerrero stated the desired method of contact will be usage of ServiceDesk. It is anticipated that call volume will be high and an incident can be logged quicker on-line versus making a phone call. It also offers after hours accessibility and the ability to attach screen prints and other supporting documentation. She explained a screen shot of the ServiceDesk agency portal pointing out an area where SMART system announcements will be posted and a searchable solutions feature.

Ms. Guerrero reported that another support that will be available to assist SMART end-users with resolving incident is the availability of context sensitive help within SMART. She explained that SMART end-users will have the ability to click on the Help link from within SMART when they are entering transactions and any relevant User Productivity Kit (UPK) simulations that relate to the page the end-user is on will automatically be launched in a new window. Ms. Guerrero then conducted a brief demonstration of context sensitive help that will be available in SMART.

Ms. Guerrero provided Steering Committee members with the dates for the next three Change Agent Network Meetings and Monthly Conversion Meetings. She also updated members on the Go-Live readiness process that was launched at last month’s Change Agent Network meeting. She indicated that project team members are in the process of communicating the process to agency staff and the team will expect updates from agencies every two weeks after they receive instructions on the new process.

Next Steering Committee Meeting

Paul Lavery, Project Manager from Accenture, ended the meeting by telling Steering Committee members the project had crossed an invisible line. He pointed out that agencies were participating in end-user testing and end-user training and the project team has officially pulled back the curtain to display the SMART system to agencies. Mr. Olson also stated that there are a lot of things going on over the next three months and reported that he had been by training rooms in the Landon Building and could feel the energy in the rooms. 

Judy Curtis asked about the availability of remaining web-based training courses. Ms. Guerrero reported that some courses would be available in the next few days and the others would be deployed as soon as they are finalized.

The next Steering Committee meeting will be on Friday, May 14 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. The meeting was adjourned.