A successful ERP implementation requires effective project management. Like any complex project, you will need proven processes and techniques to guide your work. In today’s blog, we outline 6 of the major components to successful project management.
#1: Plan the work by utilizing a project definition document
To achieve its goals, your project requires in-depth planning. One of the best ways to ensure you look at all aspects of the process is to create a project definition document. A project definition document is a written record of your planning process and describes all aspects of the project. Once approved, it becomes the basis for the project work to be performed. Your project definition should include:
- Project overview: Outline the project timeline, the business drivers and key benefits you hope to gain.
- Objectives: List your goals and what you want to accomplish/achieve.
- Scope: Define what will be implemented, which departments will be impacted, and what, specifically, is out of scope.
- Assumptions and Risks: List the events you will take for granted (assumptions), and what events you are concerned about. Then, outline action plans to address high-level risks.
- Approach: Lay out how the project will unfold and proceed.
- Organization: Identify the significant roles on the project including the project manager, sponsor, project team and any stakeholders.
- Initial Effort, Cost, and Duration Estimates: These should start as best-guess estimates and then be revised when the work plan is completed.
- Signature Page: Ask the sponsor and key stakeholders to approve this document, signifying that they agree on what is planned.
# 2: Create a work plan with a planning horizon
After the project definition has been prepared, the work plan can be created. The work plan provides the step-by-step instructions for managing the project and constructing deliverables including allocated resources and estimated work.
ERP implementation is often a lengthy process, and it’s often not practical to lay out a detailed plan for the entire project from the beginning. This is why a planning horizon is important. Your planning horizon is the estimate of work as far out as you can reasonably go without making large assumptions. It is your plan for the foreseeable future. Past the planning horizon, you should lay out the project at a higher level. Your planning horizon will move as the project progresses and these high-level activities will be defined in more detail as their timeframe gets closer.
# 3: Define project management procedures up front
It is important to be able to manage the project proactively and establishing procedures up front will help your team work together. Project management procedures should include how the team will manage issues, scope change, risk, quality, and communication. These procedures will ensure that your project team and all stakeholders have a common understanding of how the project will be managed from the beginning.
# 4: Manage the work plan and monitor the schedule and budget
Once planning is complete, execution of the work can begin. During execution, you will want to review the work plan on a regular basis to determine how you are progressing. Check off activities that have been completed and determine if anything was missed. You can then use this information to assess your project to see if it will be completed within the original plan and budget. If not, determine the adjustments and changes that need to be made.
# 5: Look for warning signs
A complex project like implementing a new ERP system takes time, effort and resources. With so many variables, it’s easy for your project to go off track. Be vigilant in looking for signs that the project may be in trouble and address them quickly before they get out of hand. Put together a plan to be proactive. Warning signs could include:
- A small variance in schedule or budget starts to get bigger.
- Discovering that activities you thought were completed are still being worked on.
- Relying on unscheduled overtime to hit the deadlines, especially early in the project.
- Team morale starts to decline.
- Deliverable quality or service quality starts to deteriorate.
- Quality-control steps, testing activities, and project management time starts to be cut back from the original schedule.
# 6: Guard against scope creep
Scope creep is a term used to define a series of small scope changes that are made to the project. With scope creep, small changes can accumulate and have a significant overall impact on the project. Most project managers know to address scope change if they are asked to add a major new deliverable to their project, but project managers often miss the small scope changes that get added over time. Many projects fail because of scope creep, and you need to be diligent in guarding against it.
Proactive planning, implementing procedures, and actively monitoring warnings and creep will increase your project’s success. Revolution Group offers a wide array of Manufacturing ERP Services. Our highly-skilled team of ERP consultants is ready to help you manage your project and outline a plan for success. If you would like to find out why Revolution Group has been a trusted ERP consulting partner for more than 20 years, call us at 614-212-1111 or fill out the form below. We would love to change the way you think about ERP.