Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

October 9, 2009
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

Peggy Hanna, Deputy Project Director

Mary Blubaugh, Board of Nursing

Dennis Williams, Department of Corrections

Chris Howe, Division of Purchases

Laura Howard, Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services

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


I.       Project Status & Activities

The meeting began with Kent Olson, Sunflower Project Director

Project Timeline

Mr. Olson gave an update on the overall status of the activities being conducted by the project team. He reported that Build Phase activities are almost behind us and we are focusing resources in certain places to get us there but the Project remains on schedule. The Project team is preparing for the Test Phase of the Project. Steering Committee member Marcia Ferrill asked a question about System Testing. Mr. Olson reported that Gary Schneider would be giving an update on the Test Phase later in the meeting.

Project Status and Activities – Build Phase

Kent Olson gave an update on the activities being performed by the four teams on the Sunflower Project. The Finance team led by Annette Witt is completing the process of loading configuration values for agencies in preparation for system test. Some of the values are optional and some are required field values. These values are needed so that agencies can process their transactions in SMART. The Finance team also continues to develop functional designs for modifications and reports that were approved via the Project’s Change Control Board. The functional designs are then sent to the Technical team so they can do the technical design and build. The team is also developing test conditions and test scripts for cycles 7 through 10 and creating security role definitions. There was also be a meeting this week to being developing the detailed version of the cutover plan which scripts out all of the activities that will take place next year when SMART goes live.

The Enterprise Readiness team has conducted 16 of 18 business process workshops. The workshops have been attended by over 600 individuals and have received very positive feedback. The Enterprise Readiness team continues developing training materials and works with the Finance team to review the materials. The training team is still looking for a few more trainers and facilitators to assist with training next spring. The Enterprise Readiness team recently hired a help desk coordinator who has been evaluating help desk software for agencies to use to log problems. The last Change Agent Network meeting was on September 30 and included demonstrations of the screens used for setting and using speedcharts, receiving and inquiry screens. The next Change Agent meeting will be held on October 28th. The Project newsletter is now being published monthly and includes helpful information to share with staff in your agency.

The Technical team is being hit hard due to slippage in the development of functional designs for modifications and reports being developed by the Finance Team. The State is working with Accenture to add resources to help with the slippage. Technical team members have also been working on maintenance of the SMART system environments and implementation of the data warehouse. This includes security configurations that are based on requirements from the functional team and from agencies. The team is also working on the disaster recovery plan. 

The Central Systems team is working with the Division of Budget to finalize the contract with the IBARS vendor to design modifications to support the new chart of accounts for Fiscal Year 2011 data. The Division of Accounts and Reports and the Division of Information Systems and Communications are approximately 50% complete with development of Phase 2 SHARP modifications. These teams finished ahead of schedule during Phase I. The Central Services team is also looking at options for SHARP performance testing to be sure that with the addition of Time and Labor the system continues to perform in an acceptable manner. Potential solutions include looking at the LoadRunner software used by KDOT. 

Next, Mr. Olson gave an update on several other activities that are in progress. The Technical team continues to conduct monthly forums regarding interfaces and conversions to assist agencies with answering their questions and addressing any concerns that may be keeping them from making progress. A basic accounting course being conducted by Washburn University is being help today. Early needs assessments and lessons learned from other projects helped us determine that we needed to offer this skills refresher course. An additional session will be offered on November 13 in Salina. The Data Warehouse Advisory Group held its third meeting and went over management dashboards. Gary Schneider will give an update later in the meeting. 


Peggy Hanna informed members that she provided an update on the Sunflower Project to the Joint Committee on Information Technology (JCIT) on September 23rd. Overall the presentation went well and there were three areas which required some additional explanation and/or follow-up. The first area was related to the Universities not fully utilizing SMART. Ms. Hanna informed the committee that the Regents being fully in the system were never in the scope of this Project. Each of the Regents has their own financial management systems that is linked to their student information systems and are configured to meet their unique needs. However, Regents financial data will be in SMART. The second area was in regards to the number of agency systems being de-commissioned. At a prior presentation, a different list was presented than the number that was reported at this meeting. Overall the number of agency systems being decommissioned remains at approximately 60. The core list of agency systems provided at the earlier meeting stayed the same and there were just minor differences from the original list due to agencies making their final decisions on which systems to retire. The last area was related to the number of system modifications. A few of the committee members were concerned about having any modifications. Ms. Hanna informed them that many potential mods were avoided through business process changes and work-arounds and overall only 49 of the 1,800 requirements resulted in modifications.

Next, Ms. Hanna gave an update on the Project’s most recent KITO report. There were ten major deliverables due this reporting period and nine of them were completed which resulted in a compliance rating of 90% which is acceptable. Overall, the project received a good report. This next quarter is going to be more trying but we still expect to get a good report.

Ms. Hanna reported that the fourth IV&V review and site visit will be held next week.

III. Change Control

Ms. Hanna gave members an update on recent change requests that were presented to the Sunflower Project Change Control Board. She reported that this past month resulted in more credits than costs. Some of the credits were due to Asset Management module data not being in the data warehouse. The original Interfund solution design did not include an automated way to complete notifications. A new change request was approved this past month to create email notification groups that would function in a similar manner to SOKI groups. The State is also going to use some of the money in the reserve fund to transition two Accenture team members to be State resources to help the technical staff get caught up. Accenture will fill in with two additional resources.

A total of 16,368 hours out of a possible 19,130 for modifications and enhancements has been authorized to date. Ms. Hanna indicated that there would be things that come up during system testing which is just about ready to start.

IV. Measuring Progress

Gary Schneider reported on the overall progress of key scope elements of the Project. There are a few areas where tasks are tracking behind. Finance team entry of configuration values is occurring slower than expected. All values are expected to be loaded in the configuration environment by October 15th. Work on functional report designs has also slowed down as Finance team members were pulled off this task to focus on getting the configuration values loaded. The creation of technical designs is not progressing at the right level. Accenture has been good about recognizing the need for more resources and is currently in the process of adding an additional 4 FTE’s. Development of interface designs is also slightly behind schedule. This includes some interfaces that are in the current test cycles that are creating a minor impact for agencies. 

There is no impact on key milestones or the “go-live” date. Mr. Schneider reported that things are moving full speed ahead and we are keeping a close pulse on all of these key scope activities.

V. Agency Interactions

The Sunflower Project continues meeting every week with the Department the Revenue implementation team. Team members also continue to spend time with the Department of Wildlife and Parks (W&P). W&P is in a unique position and are piloting the creation of very detailed combo edits. The agency would not have been able to decommission their existing system without this capability. Project leadership recently met with staff from the Department of Corrections to discuss their questions and concerns about interfaces and a lack of information regarding the ‘big’ picture of the project. Mr. Schneider reported that the Project has offered to do an overview meeting for their employees. Project team members met with staff from the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System to discuss their testing requirements to ensure the approximate 70,000 retirement payments can be processed correctly and timely.

Mr. Schneider reported on several upcoming agency events. Next week, the final two business process workshops will be conducted and the Monthly Interface technical meeting is on October 13th. There will also be workshops for Imprest and Petty Cash on October 19, 22 and 26 in the auditorium of the Docking State Office Building. The next Change Agent Network meeting is scheduled for October 28th and later this year there will be workflow workshops with are very important and should be attended by all agencies.

VI. System Testing Overview

Gary Schneider reported on several activities related to the testing process that is occurring on the Sunflower Project. During the last three months, the Project team has been working on building the extracts for conversion of data from central and agency systems. During the next six months, agencies and the project team will be completing a series of mock conversions that happen one right after the other to ensure that data is being converted correctly. Agency Interface testing has begun. During the first phase, agencies were given the INF01 that contained a snapshot of vendor data and the INFO15 that includes the new chartfields to be sure that agencies could pull the files from the mainframe and load them into their systems. The second phase of interface testing has begun which includes several more interface files, the process of agencies sending files that will be loaded into SMART, and then the processed agency transactions will be sent back via some of the external interfaces. 

Mr. Schneider went over a high-level overview of the Test Phase sequence and schedule that was presented to the Steering Committee about four months ago. The chart shows the name of each Test Phase and the expected start and finish date of the cycle. Mr. Schneider explained that many of the phases build upon each other and during the system test phase all of the modules will be tested together to ensure the end-to-end business process is working correctly. Interface testing is on-going and will feed into system testing later this year. The Project is also working on putting together some potions for User Acceptance Test (UAT) criteria. There will be ten testing cycles of increasing complexity. The initial testing phases are referred to as the Build Phase. This portion of testing ensures that the modules are working correctly. Next during the Test Phase it gets more complex as the team builds upon earlier cycles and eventually tests all activities as they would occur in a production like environment.    

            The kick-off of the System Test phase is scheduled for next week. Staff from the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services and the Office of the State Treasurer will be in attendance as they will be actively participating in the testing process since some of their existing agency systems are being replaced by functionality in SMART.

                Paul Lavery told Steering Committee members that a lot work has gone into the preparations for the testing phase. He indicated this is always a very satisfying part of the project as team members finally get to see the product of what they have been working towards the last twelve months.

                Gary Schneider informed committee members that a testing lab with 30 stations has been set up on the 11th floor of the Docking State Office Building. He invited members to come and tour the facility. Testing team members will use Phire software to log/route defects that are discovered during the testing process. Mr. Schneider clarified that this is different that the help desk software that is being evaluated. Individuals that participate in testing will arrive at the test lab in the morning and will be assigned a script(s) to be executed that day. There are several layers of quality assurance to ensure that test scripts are executed correctly. Mr. Schneider stated that the test scripts are very well written and Accenture has a lot of experience with testing and will be providing guidance to the State staff as we move throughout his process.

VII. Executive Dashboards

            Agency Reporting Strategy

            The Sunflower Project recently piloted an agency reporting strategy with three agencies prior to rolling out the activity to all remaining agencies. The reporting strategy is intended to help identify any gaps that agencies may have in being able to produce critical reports at go-live. The feedback received from the pilot agencies include the need for clarification on some of the template column headings and that more detailed descriptions and/or samples of reports are needed in order to determine gaps. The task has now been sent out to all agencies and sample reports (where available) have been placed on the website.

                Executive Dashboards

                During the September 23rd meeting of the Data Warehouse Advisory group members were asked to develop a prototype of an executive dashboard. The goal is to develop some sample dashboards that will give agencies a ‘jump start’ in developing their own dashboards. In future meetings, members will build HR/Payroll dashboard components and several years of historical HR data is already available.

                Members were shown a sample of an executive dashboard that was created by Nancy Ruoff, Payroll Services Manager in the Division of Accounts and Reports to be used by the Department of Administration’s Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Schneider reported that these dashboards will provide a lot of benefit for higher-level staff by giving them easy access to data. All of the information contained on a dashboard can be clicked on to drill down to the more detailed information that supports the summary data.

Next Steering Committee Meeting

Dennis Williams asked when agencies were supposed to start using the new Department ID’s that were submitted for the SMART agency task. Mr. Williams was advised that human resource staff in his agency should begin submitting that information to SHARP team members as soon as possible to give the agency more time to move positions and employees into the new structure.

Mr. Williams also voiced concerns over the potential decision to not have a printable voucher form in SMART. Kent Olson responded that we are working with outside auditors and LPA staff on this and other topics. Mr. Olson also indicated agencies should work with their federal auditors on this perceived requirement.

The next Steering Committee meeting will be on Friday, December 11, 2009 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. The next meeting may be held in the Docking State Office Building so that Steering Committee members can see the test lab. The meeting was adjourned.