Compare various Project implementation approaches.
1 Answer

A project team can take one of the three approaches for implementing the information system.

These approaches include:

  1. Direct cutover
  2. Parallel
  3. Phased

1.Direct Cutover:

  • The direct cutover approach is an approach where the old system is shut down and the new system is turned on. In general, a target, or go live, date is agreed upon and the system simply replaces the old.
  • This approach can be effective when quick delivery of the new system is critical or when the existing system is so poor that it must be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Direct cutover may also be appropriate when the system is not mission critical i.e. the system’s failure will not have a major impact on the organization.
  • Although the direct cutover approach may be quick, there may be no going back once the old system is turned off and the new system is turned on. As a result the organization could experience major delays, frustrated users and customers, lost revenues and missed deadlines.


  • Parallel approach to implementation allows the old and the new systems to run concurrently for a time. At some point, organization switches entirely from old system to new.
  • The parallel approach is appropriate when problems or the failure of the system can have a major impact on the organization.
  • For example, an organization may be implementing a new account receivable package. Before switching over completely to the new system, the organization may run both the systems concurrently in order to compare the outputs of both the systems.
  • This approach provides confidence that the new system is functioning and performing properly before relying on it entirely.


  • In the phased approach the system is introduced in modules or in different parts of the organization incrementally.
  • The phased approach may be appropriate when introducing a software system to different areas of organization.
  • A phased approach may also allow the project team to learn from its experiences during the initial implementation so that later implementations run smoothly.
  • Although phased approach may take more time, it is less risky and much more manageable.
  • For example, an organization may implement an accounting information system package by first implementing the general ledger component, then accounts payable and accounts receivable, and finally, payroll.

Comparisons of implementation approaches

Direct Cutover Parallel Phased
Implementation can be quick Provides a safety net or backup in case problems are encountered with the implementation of the new system Allows for an organized and managed approach for implementing system modules of system upgrades in different departments or geographical locations.
Can be risky if the system is not fully tested Can increase confidence in the new system when output of the old system and new system is compared Experience with early implementation can guide and make later implementations go more smoothly
Places more pressure on the project team Takes longer and may cost more than direct cutover approach Takes longer and may cost more than direct cutover approach
Places more pressure on the users of the system Problems encountered during early phases can impact the overall implementation schedule
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