5 Ways To Avoid ‘Scope Creep’ In Your ERP Implementation

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When it comes to implementing ERP, scope creep is a very easy trap to fall into. Mostly because with large, organization-wide changes like a new enterprise software, balance can be hard to achieve. To keep your project on time and budget, you will need to stay away from incorporating every great idea that comes up from the team while at the same time not sacrificing creative improvements to the original design. Excitement about the change can often bring out the best ideas but implementing them all would mean a project that would never end.

The best approach is perhaps putting in place a process to evaluate changes as those that are essential to the success of the project and those that aren’t. Essential changes are typically necessary and worth the time, effort and delayed schedule. The second step will involve educating the organization to help them understand the impact of each change on your project plan, and what it means for committed deadlines and budgets.

So what are some concrete ideas to avoid scope creep?

1. Smaller teams

Reduce the size of your managing teams and make sure that all requirements flow through it. While you don’t want to bottleneck, you certainly must avoid having business requirements communicated directly to developers. Sometimes, depending on the size of the project, this may even be a single project manager responsible for scoping. The downside is that if this person quits, you could be in trouble; a risk that can be mitigated with appropriate documentation and communication.

2. Something in, something out.

Impress upon people requesting a change that each new component means the loss of an existing part of the scope. The risk here, if people are happy to follow the rule, is that the business user requesting the change usually isn’t in a position to knowledgeably decide what comes out. This is a risk that can be mitigated by bringing in someone with overview, typically C-suite, to make that decision.

3. Price out the increased scope.

When it isn’t possible to drop something, price out the change. As with any other product or service, when you want more than what was agreed upon, you have to pay more. Again this could be risky because as implementation custodians, you are in charge of the budget and making sure the best is delivered within it. Any request for more money will likely be seen as a negative. Hence, this is a route best avoided till absolutely necessary and even then with senior leadership involved, for overview decision making.

4. Spin off into separate projects.

Leading in from above, another great way to manage a variety of changes that are value-adds is to spin them off into independent projects. Once the main implementation is done, you can evaluate specific additions as necessary. This helps focus people while building a culture of continuous improvement. With this approach, you do run the risk of relegating a significant improvement into a secondary project, so as before, be sure that the stakeholders are in possession of all the information to decide.

5. Learn to say ‘no’

The quick and hard way to avoid scope creep is to say no. Take a decision on the scope and stick with it with no room for change. This inflexibility, while excellent for the project, may harm relationships. Relationship management specialists who can retain objectivity and sensitivity are your best option to handle refusals.

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