Seeing Pitfalls in an ERP Implementation

The ERP project approach

The “perfect trail” of an ERP implementation project is a well-described and well-known topic. Those familiar with system implementations will recognize the five default phases guiding any ERP project:

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Yet every day we still encounter many projects where things don’t run smoothly. As a result, some of the following nagging questions often cross project team members’ minds: “Where is the problem? What are we doing wrong? What can we do differently?” Looking for answers to each and every question would drive us too far. So let’s limit ourselves to the following tips and tricks.

“Children imitate their parents, employees their managers.”
This first rule, which might be better recognizable by slogans like “Lead by example” or “Walk the talk” is of major importance to every project. You cannot expect your team to welcome the change when management isn’t showing an interest in the future goal. In practical terms this means that business managers should be involved in the project, no matter the magnitude of their action. They should be present on the “battlefield” to guide, support and inspire the future users.

There’s no “I” in team.
In addition to setting the right attitude, a second task of managers is to select the right people for the project. The selected resources need to evolve towards a powerful change team with the right balance between hard and soft skills. If we can select the right people, the resource case is halfway finished. The next challenge is then getting these resources freed up so they are fully available for the project. Operational tasks are always urgent. If people are not backed up by other resources, they will not have sufficient time to spend on the project. In that case, your team’s capacities will not be exploited to the fullest, so jeopardizing their synergies.

“Change is easier when you know where you’re going.”
Key to every successful project is planning. In Churchill’s words: “Those who fail to plan are planning to fail.” If you don’t manage to communicate a clear plan, you miss out on giving direction to your project team. Without a definition of targets it is hard to follow up on progress. It is clear that this context is a breeding place for frustration leading to demotivation. Consequently, the risk increases that people will lose their engagement, or even start resisting the change. By making a plan and sharing this with the team, you establish a common language for the way ahead. This can work by clarifying and motivating at the same time.

“Nothing motivates more than success.”
ERP implementation projects are often lengthy. As a consequence it can be hard to retain energy throughout the entire journey. In this context it is important to celebrate successes. It is important in a project to take the time to dwell upon milestones reached. Celebrating intermediate milestones will reinforce the hope that change is possible. In that sense, we found it sometimes more motivating to split up big milestones into smaller parts. Change is an incremental process, which you achieve step by step. Every step forward is a step closer to the overall target.

“You cannot not communicate.”
And you can’t communicate enough! Believe it or not, no communication is often the main source of miscommunication. There are many communication formats, and there is no single golden rule for “good” communication. But one thing is clear: You should organize your project communication. Several elements should be taken into account: How often will I communicate? Who will be my public? What will the topics be? It is important to use the right combination of when, what and who in order to keep all people informed.

How can we help you…?
bluecrux has a proven track record in system implementation projects with embedded change management. We bundled our experience in our manufacturing and distribution optimization offering, which helps you to benefit faster from better business processes with performing information systems. This is enriched with our knowledge and practical experience of business transformation, as both go hand in hand during every ERP implementation project. Whenever necessary, bluecrux can assist your enterprise during an implementation project with the right structure and follow-up management that a project requires. On top of that, we always carry along our ERP business-implementation experience.