Selecting software may be a chore, and the process can often delay a project. Reference checking is the least time-consuming way to learn how the product functions in the real world. Most organizations acknowledge that they will check references, but the reference-checking process is often disorganized and in many cases abandoned (sometimes because they already know which product they want).
Let's be clear; the selection of the right product and related utilities is a critical success factor for most projects. Without proper reference checking, your organization has not performed the due diligence required for such an important decision. There is an additional benefit to reference checking: if you pay attention and ask the right questions, you will gather lessons learned and best practices that go beyond what's the best software, and you will learn some optimal ways to install and use the product.
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