What should you consider when migrating from Deltek MPM TM to Deltek Cobra ®?

Late in 2018, Deltek phased out support for Micro-Frame Program Manager (MPM), a database that integrates cost and schedule data providing insight to project performance and produces earned value reports. While Deltek provided notice to the user community well in advance, there are still companies producing their Earned Value Management (EVM) reports using MPM. Is your company still using MPM?

Continued use of MPM may be a viable option if you are only running one or two projects and the reporting requirements do not change. Deltek's recommended path is migration from MPM to Cobra for companies that plan on winning new business, anticipate changes to their reporting requirements, or want to phase out MPM. Deltek offers data migration tools to move the data from MPM to Cobra, but moving data is only one part of a successful migration.

Ease the Burden of Data Migration by Planning Ahead

For a smooth transition from MPM to Cobra, you will need a comprehensive migration plan and a Cobra design that defines how the tool will be set up and operated. Cobra can be configured to support a wide variety of industries and end users, so it pays to step back and take the time to consider the organization's needs. Here are 10 things to think about prior to initiating a data migration:

  1. Create a Migration Plan. Make no mistake, data migration is a project that requires dedicated resources and a detailed plan. Document what is specifically included in the migration, what is excluded, and lay out a schedule. The plan will provide a baseline for the migration effort so that you can communicate progress, manage change, and successfully transition to Cobra.
  2. Assign team members from across functional groups. The migration is likely to impact business processes throughout the organization. Consider including representatives from IT, Project Management, Finance/Accounting, Risk Management, Scheduling, Manufacturing, and Contracts on the data migration team.
  3. Communicate with your customer. This is critical. If you are migrating data from an ongoing project, share your migration schedule with your customer and any organizations that have surveillance or oversight responsibility for your Earned Value Management System (EVMS). Do this well in advance and make sure it's in writing so you have a record. As the migration process progresses, continue to communicate significant changes to the original plan.
  4. Quantify the data migration. Identify the projects that will be migrated to Cobra. For each project that is slated for migration, determine if there is enough remaining time on the contract to make the migration worthwhile (including contract options). Assess how long each project has been active and plan for migration of the project history. Determine if there will be a single month where the history is consolidated, or if the entire history will be replicated in Cobra.
  5. Identify and manage issues. As you make progress, you are certain to run into roadblocks. Establish a process for handling any issues and escalating them to senior management, if necessary, so that nothing impedes successful completion. This includes data migration issues and issues that may be beyond the team's control, including lack of access to key personnel and other ongoing system upgrades.
  6. Document your design. Create a design document for the Cobra implementation that defines the system configuration and data migration assumptions. At a minimum, the design should include system security set-up, handling of shared data files, configuration of project-specific files, and data integration from outside systems (e.g., accounting).
  7. Migrate one project at a time. If you only use MPM to manage one project, migration of that single project into Cobra poses less risk and organizational impact than if you are managing multiple projects for perhaps more than one customer. In the latter case, prioritize the projects for migration. A staggered approach reduces the impact on the organization and allows you to incorporate lessons learned into the remaining migration effort.
  8. Plan for staff training. Your staff knows their project data and the EVM data collection and reporting processes using MPM, but they need adequate time to become proficient using Cobra. While Cobra and MPM provide the same functionality and produce similar reports, the user experience for each tool is different. It will take time for staff to achieve the same level of expertise.
  9. Document system differences. Any time you change tools, even tools as similar as MPM and Cobra, it is possible to run into subtle differences (e.g., report layouts, rounding, user functions). In some instances, the differences may be mitigated by design decisions. In other instances, it may be more efficient to accept the differences. Document these differences before you go live with Cobra so there is a record of your decisions.
  10. Partner with an experienced consultant. Engage a consultant like TriVariant that knows the ins and outs of both MPM and Cobra and has performed multiple data migrations into Cobra. We have helped clients across various industries and multiple U.S. Government agencies migrate their data into Cobra. Whether it is for data migration of an existing project or set-up of a new project, we know how best to configure Cobra for your needs.

Data migration can be challenging, but you can avoid some of the missteps by creating a detailed plan of action. Invest time and resources into the upfront planning and design so that you are more likely to sail through the migration.

TriVariant has performed multiple data migrations into Deltek Cobra. Whether you are currently in Deltek MPM or a different program management system, TriVariant's consultants are ready to help you begin your migration to Cobra. Contact us at info@trivariant.com, or complete our Request for Information form to discuss ways we can help your migration team succeed.