- 21 December 2016
Implementing an entirely new ERP system, or even an upgraded system, can be an enormous undertaking — that’s why it takes a solid team of people working together to ensure success. Choosing the right people to execute the project can make or break the end result.
Whether you choose to go with a phased implementation, or the big bang approach, strategic planning is essential to a seamless ERP implementation. This includes proper team assignment, the examination of current business processes, setting milestones and objectives, and developing a full-fledged project plan.
Define Your Teams
Defining your team is crucial. Without ensuring ahead of time that you have the proper manpower in place, an ERP implementation project can slow to a crawl, and even stall — leaving your company in ERP limbo indefinitely. Typically, there are three types of teams assigned to conduct an ERP implementation: the executive team, the project management team, and the core team.
The Executive Team
The executive team handles the high-level project management. This team consists of senior members of the company who have a good understanding of each area impacted, and can help determine the scope of the project. This team commissions updates from the project management team, and tracks progress to ensure milestones are met. The team is also responsible for making high-level decisions relating to resource issues, financial and budget issues, and personnel issues.
The Project Management Team
The project management team reports directly to the executive team. This team consists of experts throughout the company, and requires a high level of collaboration between its members (team player attitudes are key). The project management team should be intimately involved in the project from beginning to end, ensuring that the project remains on track.
These positions may require full-time attention; therefore, team members should be individuals dedicated solely to the implementation project. These individuals will be in charge of making sure all tasks are complete, the project remains on track, issues are reported and promptly escalated to the executive team, statuses are communicated, and deliverables are met as expected.
The Core Team
The core team is in charge of the actual task execution for the implementation. This team may include analysts, consultants, site coordinators, and developers. These team members own the responsibility of ensuring the project’s success at the ground level. This team will gather and centralize information, combine and report on all efforts across the company, and merge information silos into a complete picture.
Set Objectives and Expectations
Once your teams are defined, it’s important to set objectives. Now is the time to develop a plan, and clearly assign responsibilities to each team member. Lay out expectations for routine communication between teams and team members, and plan daily standup meetings. Make sure each team member understands what they are expected to deliver (such as successes, failures, roadblocks, and next steps).
Choose individuals within your company to complete the tasks they are best suited for — and tasks they have the time to complete, regardless of their day-to-day job descriptions. Set realistic timelines and checkpoints; it’s important to ensure every employee is fully aware of the plan, from start to finish.
Empower team members to speak up if they see upcoming sticking points, or inefficiencies in project management along the way. Allow each team member to make decisions at their level, to help streamline the project and keep it moving smoothly.
Planning for the implementation and launch of a new ERP system takes collaboration and effort on many levels. Assigning effective teams, and clearly laying out the expectations and responsibilities of each participant, helps ensure the project moves forward efficiently — and on schedule. ERP implementations require a large, focused company investment. Proper team assembly is vital to ensuring a productive and positive outcome.