The problem with "do it yourself"

One of the selling points of Deltek Vision is its high degree of configurability, allowing most companies to satisfy their unique requirements by clicking a few check boxes here, entering some cost rates into a table there, or adding a custom field or grid in this or that info center.

Recently I purchased a 4-plex.  It was a beautiful building up in Northern California.  3,200 square feet of historic, 100 year old Victorian red wood converted to 4 apartments.  In one of the downstairs apartments there was a bathroom that was in bad need of a re-model.  Me, being the analytical and engineering minded person that I am, and having had a background in wood work and construction as a child of parents who owned such a business, I figured I could tackle the project myself.
It was a noble notion… I could buy a shower insert at the hardware store, along with tile, sink, fixtures, shelving etc… paint.. you name it.  It was a “do it yourself” project perfect for someone like me… that is if I had infinite amounts of time, didn’t need to work for a living, and didn’t mind having to re-do the work after discovering I had made a mistake and painted myself into a corner with some modification I made that later turned out to be a bad idea…. or it was a good idea if I had the experience and skill set to do it right.
I realized after two full days of screwing things up in the apartment down stairs that my time would be better spent upstairs, and that I had better find someone who had experience in remodeling bathrooms.
So I hired an expert.  I could hire an expert to do the work, head down stairs and check on his progress from time to time, while I worked on Deltek clients’ projects from my apartment upstairs.
Now the problem with Deltek Vision is very similar to the remodeling of a bathroom.  It seems like an easy job… we all can envision what we want from the software, and the executives in the firm can describe in 5 minutes or less the kinds of reports they want to see, and often even make suggestions about “adding a field here” or “can’t you just store it there”?
The problem is that it’s too easy to mess things up and paint yourself into a corner.  You need to have an expert do the work…
I feel like I’m repeating myself here… and I am, but the first time I said it I was just writing about custom reports.  The idea applies to all parts of Vision though.
You really need a business analyst to help you define the requirements, a data architect to make sure you store it in the right place, and a good sql programmer to pull the data back out again.
Deltek Vision is a pretty maleable tool, but there is a certain cost of ownership associated with it.  That cost is in the form of not only maintenance contracts but also expertise.  I would not recommend the product to firms who can not afford to hire either consultants or in-house experts to tackle the real issue of fitting the product to their firm’s needs.
In most cases, Deltek Vision is a mission critical application to the firm making the purchase.  We’re talking about the accounting department are we not?  Here is a question for you… if the accounting department was unable to issue pay checks or invoices, how long would you be in business?
So keep that in mind when you start looking at your Deltek Vision implementation and reaching for the proverbial screw-driver.  Is what you’re about to do a good idea?  Or should you consult with someone about it first?

One thought on “The problem with "do it yourself"

  1. Reblogged this on Loren Saunders and commented:

    Was just looking through a bit of traffic reports on my site, and ran into this post from almost exactly 6 years ago. I’m reposting it to remind everyone of the main idea here: Hire a professional to do it.

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