Zen and the Art of ERP Ownership
With an undertaking as large as a new ERP implementation or an upgrade, ownership and accountability can become a concern because you’ve got a lot of people and expectations in the mix. When things go wrong, often the ‘ERP consultant’ is seen as the ‘villain of all things’. To our minds, that is not always a fair assessment. As with most professionals, ERP firms want to do things the right way and get the client to their goal.
While the word teamwork may have clichéd connotations, in our experience, the smoothest implementation projects are the ones which have a team that champions the goal of getting there together. Having seen our share of ERP blood sweat and tears, these are our 4 rules of ERP Zen Mastery on all things ownership.
Build the right teams
A good team is made up of the right balance of people from the client and consultant side. Think about the people you are matching with one another. Would they work within a culture you think will ensure success? Have the proposed teams interact with each other at least and at best, consider opening up the implementation team roles and having people apply to them with the view to getting a well-matched group in place. How smoothly a project goes has a lot to do with the personalities on the team.
Set accountability and measure
While the implementation team is a team, there must be a project manager who holds the team together and either clarity on the rest of the roles or an openness to an iterative process of management. While it makes sense for the lead to be at the client end to drive your vision and make sure the project stays on goal, remember your consultant choice brings value, experience, and methodology that are critical to making things succeed. Set clear metrics to help you measure success and let them guide you.
Value conversation and the time to strategize
Any project that that was a resounding success typically involves people who understand the value of talk and play. Playing pool, chatting over a long lunch, a workout break in the middle of a ridiculous deadline – these are not downtime, they are critical to a team that is putting an immense amount of brain power into something that is one of your company’s biggest milestones. Ideas come from conversations and a team that has the time and space they need to master a project will master it.
Stay committed to resolving the everyday issues
A team that won’t roll up its sleeves is as much a liability as one that is stressed. Task the team with solving problems before they become too big. Allow them to delegate and manage as they see fit. This means making sure your team has only this as their ‘job’. A split focus is a higher price than lost billable hours in our experience.