It’s safe to say that ERP projects don’t always go as planned. Whether it’s scope creep, changing business requirements, or lack of buy-in, specific actions are needed when a project gets off track. Most issues with ERP projects are not caused by the software’s functionality. So, where do you start?
The Five W’s; Who, What, Where, When, and Why.
When is a project in trouble?
Of course, the answer is — it depends. A clear indication is that major milestones or deliverables are being missed. Expenditures to budget in relation to the progress of the project is also a key indicator. Generally, when it’s in trouble, you know.
What went wrong?
This will be different for each project but the ways in which you handle it will be very similar. Answering the “what” question should be done with a clear and honest assessment of what happened and why the project is in trouble. It’s not an easy discussion but understanding what happened is crucial to structuring a recovery plan and to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Why has the project gone astray?
Are there circumstances you can point to that answer the “why” question? Was there a change in the business? Was it the result of improper staffing or lack of focus on the project? This is especially common as most organizations have limited resources on top of the fact that the implementation team is tasked with working on the project in addition to their daily tasks.
Where are we in the project?
This is a key factor in deciding how to go about the recovery. If the project has just begun, the best approach may be to stop, go back to the beginning and do a full reboot. As you progress through the project, this option is less feasible, and a corrective action plan may be the best approach.
Who needs to be involved in the fix?
The recovery plan needs to involve a broad audience including stakeholders, the executive sponsor, project team members and end users. If one of the issues is user buy-in, then it’s important to understand from team members and end-users how the project impacts their work life. Their insight can lead to new approaches.
All this leads to the most important question… How do we recover?
Begin by looking at the project plan. Was the timeline too aggressive, include too much, or not involve the right cast of characters? Oftentimes it’s necessary to reevaluate expectations, redefine scope and milestones or change the makeup of the team. Regardless, change planning is a key element and should focus on communication. Some of the most common ways to answer this question include:
- Small wins – Set out some small tasks which can easily completed in a short period of time. Completing a few of these can get the ball rolling.
- Process changes – reassess the business processes, and where possible simplify, simplify, simplify.
- Scope changes – taking things out of the mix or breaking the project into a series of smaller pieces is a good way to restore project momentum.
- A critical review of the project team – Review the team to make sure that the project has the right mix of personalities. It’s great to have Initiators, but too many can stymie progress because of competing direction. Blockers are not inherently bad because they can challenge ideas and drive new approaches. That said, toxic personalities are rarely good for a project.
- Additional time – good projects, like a fine wine, take time to develop. Don’t shortchange the project’s key objectives solely for the sake of time.
- A renewed commitment to the project – this comes from a tone from the top. If it’s not important to the Executive Sponsor or the management team, then why are we doing it or, tougher yet, should we continue?
- Budget increases – nothing in life is free.
Above all, remember, if something isn’t changed how can we expect a different outcome?
Revolution Group has over 20 years of experience helping manufacturers select and implement the most effective ERP solutions for their businesses. If you would like to find out why Revolution Group is a trusted ERP partner, fill out the form below or call us at (614) 212-1101. We would love to change the way you think about ERP.