Unrealistic Expectations of the Effort Required

Unrealistic expectations about the internal effort required to develop custom screens and workflows with the vendor’s software development toolkit

The vendor may have an outstanding Software Development Toolkit… but can your available resources accomplish all the requirements needed in time for go-live? The Framework helps you answer that question before a crisis occurs.
Vendor cost proposals for a new AMS, LMS, or Website often include unstated assumptions about the work your staff will do to meet various requirements. Many vendors provide a Software Development Toolkit that allows you to develop custom workflow processes, add new fields, screens, and dashboards, create custom queries and reports, and integrate with third party applications… without customizing their baseline software and without being taken off the upgrade path. These are wonderful capabilities that allow unique requirements to be met, but many associations end up with much more new system development work on their plate than they bargained for –– and oftentimes the assumptions inherent in the vendor’s cost quote do not surface until it’s too late.

Underestimating the work involved for staff to use the vendor’s Software Development Toolkit, and not having a detailed plan that defines all the development tasks your staff must accomplish prior to go-live, is one of the primary reasons for missed deadlines. And if you end up shifting the work to your vendor, the system cost (and probably their timeline estimate) will escalate dramatically.

How to develop a plan for the development tasks your staff must perform prior to go-live

Worksheets included in the Framework help you identify all the software development tasks that need to be completed by your power users and/or the IT Department. The Framework guides you and the vendor as you jointly determine the level of effort required to use the vendor’s Toolkit to develop each requirement. The Framework also helps document the skill level needed to develop each requirement, as well as the timing for commencement of the development work. The only way you can set a realistic go‑live date is to be armed with this information early in the implementation process, when you can balance the amount of work needed with your available resources.

The Framework’s RFP asks the vendor to distinguish between functions the vendor will deliver and functions they expect you to develop with their Toolkit. This helps avoid misunderstandings about what is included in the vendor’s price quote. Without this information, you cannot do an apples-to-apples cost comparison between competing vendors and you will have no way to lock down specific development costs.


The Framework gives you a clear analysis of the difference, so that your decision on a vendor is made with your eyes open, and there are no misunderstandings about each party’s responsibilities in the contract.


Contact us to learn more about the

IT Guidance Framework