So here you are. You're ready to embark on a new software implementation and you're looking at the steps to take to make the best and smartest use of your time.
What do you do first? Well - the first thing you do is you need to see the "big" picture. How does everything need to fit together knowing that different stakeholders will be involved along the way? You need a plan. Let's use the analogy of my recent vacation to Mexico to illustrate the thought process of a plan.
My Trip to Mexico
I recently went to Mexico on a vacation with my girlfriend, but there was another reason to go, as well. You see my girlfriend is originally from Mexico and had to get her visa renewed. So we did what I think most other people would do. Plan it out.
First thing was to identify the places we had to be at a certain time and where we would stay, not only for the visa but other activities as well (our line item needed to include the timing of other variables.)
With that, we started looking into hotel accommodations to be near the consulate for her visa and found a listing on VRBO.com for the rest of the trip right on the beach (we needed to know the location of the variables and how they affected one plan vs the other, allowing us to maximize our resources and time).
We also went to her parents, went out to a nice restaurant, cave exploring, and visited Cozumel. With these in mind, we picked a van to rent to get us where we needed to go. Which by the way, if you think driving in Atlanta is bad, try driving through Merida (we needed the right vehicle that could support the team's needs to help us get to where we wanted to go).
The rest of the time we were there we left open to give us some freedom to decide at the moment. In the end, I think it all went smooth because of simple planning and follow-through (the lesson, sometimes you can't plan for everything... so leaving a buffer or a "bucket" of time to be for those un-planned events is a great equalizer).
I believe the same approach comes to your software implementation. Identify the issues, data, or processes that are the most important to be addressed first, then research to find how or what you need to accommodate it. Knowing this will help you choose the means to do so, like picking the right hotel and finding the means to get there.