Don’t Hope for Project Success. Plan for It.

By - June 18, 2013

Implementing a new ERP system can seem like a daunting task at the beginning, but if certain guidelines are followed by both the client and implementation team, a winning environment is created for project success.

I’ve listed common issues with projects and included ways to address them effectively:

Budgeted Hours Change:   The implementation team should utilize an extensive discovery process in order to best estimate the hours required for a given project.  During the design phase, it is possible that new requirements not previously known can change the estimated hours.  The final design document, produced at the conclusion of the design phase, will need to be approved by the client before the project begins.

Risk Mitigation:  The implementation team assigns a project manager prior to the design phase.  This person is responsible for keeping the project on track with regards to time, budget, and outcomes.  The project manager is required to provide bi-weekly reports, and the client will be notified if any aspect of the project will exceed the initial proposal estimate.

 

Lack of executive sponsorship:  Support from senior management, along with the designation of a single executive project sponsor is a necessary component for a successful implementation.   This support is essential through participation in the design phase meetings and documentation review, and for providing staff with the ability to participate fully in training sessions and other key requirements which will be additional responsibilities during this time.

Risk Mitigation:  An executive sponsor should be identified early in the project, and participate in the planning sessions for the project and communication plan, as well as periodic project status updates at key points.

 

Lack of internal project management: In addition to an executive sponsor, a key success factor is the strength and availability of the internal project manager.

Risk Mitigation:  During the planning phase of the project, designate an internal project manager who will be the primary point of contact throughout the course of the project, will participate in weekly status meetings, and who has the authority to assign tasks and hold internal resources accountable.

 

Lack of communication:   The only way to successfully implement an enterprise-wide system is to effectively communicate regularly among the project team, the implementation team, and system users throughout the organization.  This communication needs to include the overall purpose, key objectives, and critical success factors of the project, as well as timelines and responsibilities of all who are impacted.  Communication needs to continue throughout the course of the project, including any challenges, barriers to meeting objectives, and successes.

Risk Mitigation:   Project implementation methodology starts with the development of a project charter and communication plan.  The client and the implementation team should communicate throughout the course of the project to ensure a consistent and effective communication is provided.

 

RSM has been implementing ERP systems for more than thrity years.  We offer proven implementation methodologies delivered by people who know understand your industry.  If you are evaluating a new ERP system, contact our professionals at erp@mcgladrey.com or by phone at  855.437.7202.

By: Steven Alvater – New Jersey Microsoft Dynamics ERP Partner

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