Enterprise resource planning (ERP) project management is a full-time job that requires dedicated resources. Although it’s not as simple as it seems, it’s one of the keys to the success of software implementation.
For this reason, business owners, Chief Information Officers (CIOs), and project managers need to understand the significance of effective ERP project management. They must also understand the factors that make up an effective project plan.
Effective Project Management Should Mean Consistency of Direction
Project management is a principal factor in any ERP initiative. It keeps track of the time, budget, and scope of any project. Furthermore, it aims to get and keep everybody on the same page, ensuring that everyone is marching in the same direction.
Having said that, a good project manager holds the team and its clients together, guiding them throughout the various ups and downs of any project. This is especially important in terms of ERP, which strikes a balance between technology and human resources (think organizational change).
Effective ERP project management is crucial to the success of a project. Some of the elements of effective ERP project management include:
- Alignment of strategic goals. Business and project goals must align and support each other.
- Clear objectives. The team has a clear guide to tackle tasks, effectively boosting their focus.
- Realistic project planning. The team sets proper expectations based on accurate data.
- Quality control. Project managers ensure the quality or applicability of project deliverables.
- Risk management. Project managers get ahead of issues and find solutions as soon as possible.
- Continuous supervision. To monitor, react and adjust as necessary.
- Typically a charter that provides guidelines and structure.
- Communication. Over-communicate using different methods and to all levels of the organization. This should also include regular positive and constructive feedback to team members.
Effective ERP project management also serves as a guiding force for the team. It stands as a vision and motivation for the team, encouraging them to do their best and drive favorable results.
Project Managers Need to Build a Comprehensive Plan
Project management is only effective when it involves a comprehensive plan. As such, a good project manager must spearhead a sound strategy, that is approved by many levels of the organization.
First, the plan must have targeted realistic dates that give a substantial overview of the project goals and how and when they will be achieved.
Second, it must have a set of objectives that will serve as the driving force of the project—this includes an understanding the organizational mission and business goals.
Third, the plan must define the scope of the project, letting the team and its clients know how many resources are necessary for the project. It should also spike out all the factors that can affect timely implementation. This should include contingencies for adjusting the timing of certain deliverables, if things begin to go sideways.
Fourth, the project plan must clearly define resource assignments, work division, and check points to ensure that every person involved is doing their job. Together with this, the project manager must give an overview of the different project stages to serve as the team’s guide.
Finally, a comprehensive project plan must have an established budget. The project manager must have financial oversight to make sure that the costs are accurate, realistic and that contingencies are anticipated if needed.
Strong Project Managers Believe in Success, and Aren’t Afraid to Ask for Help
We have discussed the importance of a strong project manager. The inclusion of independent consultants such as Panorama bring businesses one step closer to success by reviewing, validating and enhancing ERP project plans. They go over project plans meticulously, pointing out aspects that may need adjustment, and help formulate midcourse corrections as they are needed. For example, non-technical business factors, such as organizational change management, sometimes get overlooked or not sequenced properly. Putting your best foot forward typically means being collaborative, and open to the fact that even the best formed plans are a work in progress.