LIMS are like fish

Given enough time and experience in implementing LIMS you start to recognize patterns.  I admit that I am a bit slow on the uptake but at least I have almost 2 decades under my belt implementing a number of LIMS and have tried to learn from that experience and practice that education in the real world.

A while back I wrote a blog about how LIMS are like sausages in that you don’t want a LIMS that is not configured for your lab.  You want a system that is fully configured otherwise it is like uncooked sausages.  Great when cooked but will make you sick or kill you if left uncooked.  One can make that same argument for LIMS.

Well here is another analogy.  LIMS are like fish.  The fresher the fish the better it is.  The longer it sits the more it stinks.  With LIMS, the longer the project implementation takes, the higher the chance of project failure.  The ideal situation is for the both the vendor and the customer to work as a team on implementing the LIMS where the customer performs much of the system setup while the vendor works on gap areas that may require code changes.  The idea is to build a project plan where “Go Live” takes place in a matter of weeks and not months.  You must strike while the iron is hot.  You must keep the users fully engaged from day one and have them start using the system from day one by doing system setup tasks.

At every step you should have users trying to process samples and produce reports.  In the end you should have a system that is in a Go Live state within no more than 2 months or the project will start to develop a smell.

Basically, when you combine the analogies of Sausages and Fish you find that the ideal LIMS will be the one that has the least gap between what it provides out of the box and what your needs are.  You will have a LIMS configured to your needs and done to a turn and the entire experience will be fresh to the users and will most importantly, gain their acceptance.  Let’s face it… who wants to eat a stinky fish?