When planning an ERP implementation project, it’s important to consider how long the project is going to take and assess any potential roadblocks along the way. ERP implementation projects can take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years for full completion or go-live. Typically, the inconsistency is dependent upon the size of an organization, the complexity of the ERP system being installed, expected concurrent users, and the size of data migration. However, there are many other reasons for a delayed implementation timeline such as lack of communication and/or budget. Embarking on an ERP implementation project with unrealistic expectations is the number one reason for implementation failure. Setting ERP project plans with genuine goals and achievement dates is critical for a successful ERP implementation project.

To keep an ERP implementation project on time and on budget, communicate with your ERP partner, consultant and/or Value Added Reseller (VAR) / implementation service provider. Communication between an organization and their VAR should remain consistent throughout the project implementation to establish a clear project timeline with goals and objectives. Key Performance Indicators (KPI) need to be translated into project milestones on an ERP implementation project timeline as clearly defined measurable goals. ERP implementation projects, like many other projects on a similar scale, will never be wrinkle free. With that being said, incorporate countless trial runs and testing phases into the project plan to anticipate any potential roadblocks and preempting future issues by fine-tuning the system configuration prior to the go-live date.

ERP Project Strategy and Management Plan

  1. Hold a project kick-off meeting to set and align expectations, clarify roles and responsibilities, and allow team members to both ask and answer relevant questions. Include project leadership, as well as relevant internal and external resources to ensure visibility and engagement from the outset.
  2. Understand and leverage existing internal structures, such as communication vehicles and decision-making bodies that can assist throughout the implementation. These structures create a sense of familiarity and reduce barriers to employee engagement.
  3. Develop and enforce a clear issue and risk escalation process to capture and expedite resolution of any issues and risks throughout the project.
  4. Highlight integration points between project streams to generate discussion early on. Initial project meetings should include clarification from each stream on what they understand their project role to be, and what they see as key integration points with other streams.
  5. Revisit and reinforce roles and responsibilities regularly throughout the project lifecycle as they may shift or evolve over time.
  6. Create an ongoing ERP training plan focused on helping users to be more productive with the system. The training plan should be considered an ongoing, integrated subset of the overall ERP strategy that delivers role-based training both before and after implementation.
  7. Leave sufficient time to test all systems and data before go-live. This should include intense audit steps to make sure the system is solid before you try to run your business in it.
  8. Prepare for the unexpected because you will inevitably face unanticipated impacts along the way. Create clear feedback mechanisms so users can notify the project team of discrepancies.  Identifying and dealing with unanticipated changes and impacts efficiently and effectively is crucial to keeping the project from delays and failure.
  9. Conduct a Post Implementation Audit to measure success, determine “benefits leakage,” and identify next steps to increase ROI. Revisit future state documentation, KPIs, and expected benefits that were documented in the early stages of the project.  Identify and properly address the cause of any lack of usage of the new technology.

This post is an excerpt from our ERP Buyer’s Guide.  Download it now and discover the Roadmap to a Successful ERP Journey.

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