A key factor in ERP project success is the strength of the team who help to implement it. It’s a common mistake, when implementing a new ERP system or upgrading an old one, to frame the project as the sole responsibility of the IT or accounting departments, forgetting that it will impact people enterprise-wide.
Here are three steps to help you structure your efforts and avoid common mistakes when thinking about putting together your ERP project team.
1. Select an ERP Project Manager
In order to have a fighting chance when it comes to ERP implementation, you should first think about the type of people you need to lead the way. At the heart of this group is the project manager. In terms of past experience, they should have managed large-scale ERP projects and have a track record of successful completion.
Considering that at least 20% or your workforce are likely to be ERP users, your ERP project manager should be able to communicate ideas effectively and relate to people in your organization at all levels. They must be a natural leader with some political clout. It’s inevitable that during an ERP implementation there will be differing viewpoints so manager needs to able find solutions that appease all sides.
Ultimately, when selecting your ERP Project Manager, you must think about how they can drive the project forward. The right candidate can be internal or external. Most importantly they should have the right qualifications to lead ERP selection and implementation effectively.
2. Outline other key stakeholder roles
What makes a great ERP project team? The basic table below outlines four core project team members and their respective roles:
CORE TEAM MEMBER ROLE
Project manager As discussed, leads the project.
Application analyst Data migration and cleansing
Application developer System customization
QA test engineer System testing and performance efforts
Alongside these core team members you will need stakeholders in other areas of your organization for instance from senior management, accounting, the sales department or warehouse staff. You should try to have a representative from every functional area of your business. This will vary depending on the individual needs of your project, the scale of your company and the type of functionality you’re implementing. You might also consider hiring an experienced consultant to help you through this stage of the process.
3. Scout for talent throughout your organization
It’s true that not all ERP teams are hand-picked. But where you can, before the process of assembling the team begins, make a list of personality traits you would consider advantageous. System integration can be complex and intensive even if you have a robust ERP implementation strategy in place. The best people won’t whine, complain, get angry or waste your time. Individually we’re all prone to trigger behaviors that differentiate from person to person. However, it can be useful to keep in mind those members of staff you think will hold up under pressure.
Here’s some example of traits to look for:
Intelligence in this context doesn’t just mean book-smarts. Your ERP Project team members should be quick thinking, ambitious and keen to prove their own performance.
This one should go without saying, really! People who can talk frankly are more likely to be able to get to the bottom of any potential problems in timely manner.
Try, try and try again! Sometimes an ERP implementation can feel like an uphill battle. You need a team made of fighters who won’t give up at the first hurdle.
Lauren Stafford works as a Digital Publishing Specialist at ERP Focus, a platform which gathers together the latest thinking, news and research about ERP software.