Is your project leader the right fit for a Cloud ERP implementation?

Quite often mistakes are made in the selection ofwho will head up your company's Cloud ERP implementation project.

Most people that work with ERP systems may only see one, two, or at most three ERP implementations in their career.  A person who may have been an accounting clerk during their first implementation,  a department head during their second, and hopefully an accounting manager by the time they see their third, may not be the best person to head up a medium to large ERP implementation.

Every Cloud ERP project is unique, much like a fingerprint.   Experiencing a QuickBooks implementationas an accounting clerk would be completely different from a Sage 100 project as a department head. Likewise,  seeing the tail end of an Oracle 2 year implementation as an accounting manager would be a totally different experience altogether.

There are 4 basic abilities your project leader should possess:

  1. The authority to make decisions that could impact the direction of the project as well as the pace at which it progresses. (Budget changes, change of scope decisions, authorizing overtime for employees that may be a part of the project, etc…)
  2. A deep understanding of the business processesof your company before the implementation.  Not knowing enough about the functionality of a business and how things are done can drastically slow downa project due to lack of experience in the company.
  3. Being a leader is another key ingredient to overseeing an ERP project. Having the ability to assert one's self appropriately as needed and knowing when to step back a bit as needed are vital traits of leadership potential for overseeing a project.
  4. Communication is key.  Having the skill of communication to articulate your point to all parties involved with little to no aggravation between them is a highly sought after ability as an ERP project leader. Knowing how to let the solution provider know when there is a critical issue needing to be resolved immediately and an issue needing resolution, but not an immediate one, is a communication skill that can go a long way towards success on your implementation.

And here are 10 things a project leader should ask:

  1. Is there a project Schedule?
  2. Is there a project plan?
  3. How often will I be updated on the status of the project?
  4. Is our go-live date a realistic and attainable ? If not what is?
  5. Who are the members of this project and what are their roles?
  6. Is there a plan for how and who we communicate with and through?
  7. What is the solution provider expecting of me?
  8. If the project goes over budget, when will we know about this and how can we find out ahead of time?
  9. What do I do if there is something outside the scope agreement that is a "must have"?
  10. Is there something I should be asking, but I might be missing or not asking?

It is the foundation of a strong project implementation to have a good, experienced project leader heading up an ERP implementation. The success of the project rides on this fact. Many projects have failed and a lot of the wrong people have been blamed for the failure, when the core cause of most of those failures points right back to the project leader's inability to meet these requirements.

Cliff Hall