The 6 Secrets to Successfully Implement your ERP Software.
A ERP software implementation project is always a challenge, specifically when it comes to complying with the established schedule.
The constraints to the success of the project may come from different sources, both internal and external, from the implementing consulting team and from the team of the client where the project is being implemented.
The experience of our consulting team at 2iBi has taught us that there are many key aspects playing a role in the success of these projects. We’ll call them, the 6 Secrets to Successfully Implement your ERP Software.
1. Strong Leadership
Before starting any project, we usually get our team of consultants together with the client’s team. During this meeting we communicate the 6 drivers of success and identify who are the leaders at both parties (client and 2iBi).
It’s been proven that the Leadership on both sides, when existing and strong, is crucial to the development and success of the project.
It is no surprise that in every project there is, at least, one user with a greater resistance to change. A strong leadership shall be able to engage, educate and motivate this (or these) user(s) to overcome such resistance, natural to human beings. Whenever we have to leave our comfort zone, it is our nature to resist.
2. Common Goal
This aspect can be used to show the most “resistant” what will the result be after the “storm” of change. On the topic of change, the book “Who Moved my Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, very easy to read, can be used as a tool to help the ones resisting to change.
As several experts say, people are motivated in two different ways. By moving away from the pain or by seeking pleasure. When setting a Common Goal, we must keep the profile of all the stakeholders in mind and understand how they are motivated. The Common Goal shall reflect those approaches.
3. Game Rules
Why do we have rules? In society in general and also in companies, rules establish the expected behaviour. We may think about the game rules as the lines of a football field. The game is played within those lines.
The fact that those rules exist and are shared helps every stakeholder to know what is expected from him/her.
In our case, the rules include aspects, such as hardware and software requisites at the client’s IT infrastructure, how the communication between the team of consultants and the client’s team will take place and the compliance of the payment schedule throughout the project.
4. Action Plan
Now that we know which are the rules, we move forward to the strategy. In the Action Plan, we establish the several phases of the project:
We identify the stakeholders, their input and what will happen in every phase
For instance, in the Analysis phase, from 2iBi, there will be an analysis consultant and, from the client, the decision-maker from every area or department where the software will be implemented, as well as key users in those areas.
5. Foster the Sense of Initiative
Every manager wants to have people in their team that take initiative. In projects, we expect the same from the users. Therefore, just as the Leadership must motivate their team members to embrace the project with one sole purpose in mind (Common Goal), the same Leadership must also foster and support Initiative.
Not everyone has the same natural skill to take initiative. Sometimes, that may also depend on their surrounding environment and the topics being addressed.
In his book Leading at a Higher Level, Ken Blanchard explains his Situational Leadership model. In that model he presents the four stages of professional evolution of an individual in a certain topic. The evolution throughout the four stages is related to the Individual’s Commitment, and his/her Technical Skills in a certain topic. The stages are:
The project managers and the leadership may use this model throughout the project to get users’ commitment and initiative.
6. 100% Commitment & Engagement
In an implementation project, it is crucial that everyone “runs” in the same direction. For that to happen, everyone must be aligned, 100% committed, focused on a common goal and give their input to get there.
It is important to allow for the necessary time and resources. In the consultants’ team, the required consultant(s) must be assigned full-time. On the client’s side, the key users and heads of each area must set time apart in their schedule to be present in the activities around the project implementation.
This is a crucial element, to avoid slippage and ensure the achievement of the goals set.
I once heard, at a team management training, that “people don’t come with an instruction manual”. Therefore, each of these “6 Secrets” must be thought and adapted to each situation and to the reality of the specific client, where we are working at.
Each case is unique and these aspects must be used carefully, in the right amount. It’s like cooking.
In the end, everything is about people. People have different susceptibilities, different ways to get motivated, different ways to learn. The management of management software implementation projects is performed by people and to improve people’s lives.
Every organization has its own Culture, and the project approach must keep that in mind. In our team we communicate and live by the 12 Points of 2iBi Culture. Sharing our values and culture with others is always a good thing and we should always strive to do it positively, respecting and helping others.
See you soon and wish you lots of success!