The ERP project kickoff is an important step in the software selection process. Even though it’s typically a short meeting with the executive steering committee, project core team, and SME’s, it serves as a vital task that helps to create a sense of teamwork, as the blueprint of the process is laid out.
The primary goal of the kickoff meeting is to reach an agreement on how we’re going to proceed and to state the overall goals of the requirements gathering process.
- Introduce the various team members and their role in the ERP project.
- Create a sense of teamwork and motivate the team.
- This is accomplished through many ways and depends upon the size of the group and client environment.
- This is one area where you can be creative as long as the creativity goes along with the proper corporate culture.
- State the goals and expectations of the ERP project. Reach agreement that the goals stated are accurate.
- There’s few things worse than having the consultant firm come in with their client goals stated incorrectly.
- Do your own research and ask questions.
- Get the client to state their goals. Never assume you already know.
- Remember the old adage: What does “Assume” spell…
- Educate participants on the software selection methodology.
- Provide a brief summary of the ERP selection methodology.
- Always keep in mind that this review was probably addressed multiple times during the sales cycle.
- Expand on the role of the project management website and it’s expected use as the single source of truth.
- What? No project management website or centralized system?!
- Now is the time for you to get one.
- Perform requirement workshop training.
- Have a discussion on workshop best practices.
- It’s vital that the participants involved in the workshop come prepared.
- It’s the goal of the software selection team to make the necessary tools available to aid it in this process.
- Review of workshop tools to be used.
- Review expectations
- Review worksheets
- Give the participants homework, by having the come to each session with 5-10 questions they want to ask.
Things to Avoid
- Not solidifying the team.
- This is a prime opportunity to begin aligning the various teams to the project goals.
- Let’s get everyone on the same page and excited to a part of the project.
- Not reaching agreement on the project goals. Assuming the clients goals are stated accurately.
- If you’re going in the wrong direction from the beginning, it’s impossible to end up at the right spot at the end.
- There will be plenty of opportunities that arise to get you off track, don’t let this be the first.
- Not listening to the client state what they want out of their project.
- A successful software selection project depends a lot upon listening to your client and not assuming you know what they want.
- You may be an expert, but you do not know everything.
- Failure to build on the initial presentations performed during the sales cycle
- Every step of the process should build upon the previous step.
- Every presentation should add to the body of knowledge of the group.
- Every client visit should build upon the previous one.
The ERP project kickoff meeting should start with a feeling of great anticipation, similar to that of waiting for the super bowl football game to begin. Everyone is tense with anticipation, waiting for the kickoff. By the end of the meeting, people should feel relaxed and confident of the process as we move forward in the requirements gathering process. They should have a sense of satisfaction and confidence in the process as we move forward into the requirements gathering phase.
Blog entry written by Kevin Cahill, an ERP Consultant at Panorama Consulting Group.