Successfully implementing ERP software requires two-way communication. This is not only important between an ERP project team and end-users – it is also applicable to the project manager and team members. Once duties and roles are assigned, the ERP project manager should clarify expectations for how team members should communicate status updates and results as well as respond to questions and feedback). Many project managers have an expectation of closed loop feedback – a concept based on the premise that accountability motivates improved performance.
Put simply, when a project manager presents a team member with a task, the team member has the responsibility to complete that task and report back to the project manager regarding progress and results. This cycle continues throughout the ERP implementation until the team has achieved stated goals and objectives. The concept of closed loop feedback should be applied to every project deliverable whether it relates to business process reengineering, organizational change management or some other component of the initiative.
Before implementing a new ERP system, an organization should ensure that it has a fully-staffed ERP project team and adequate resources to manage each deliverable. All project team members, from the business process analysts to the system trainers, should be held accountable for their individual duties, and regularly communicate with each other about their progress.
Requiring team members to report back to their project manager is a powerful way to influence results. When project managers provide regular project updates, it acts as a strong motivator for the project team to continue moving the same direction or backtrack and make improvements.
Following are three tips for maintaining a closed loop feedback system among your ERP project team:
1. Define who team members need to report back to. Usually, the project manager will serve as the main point of contact. If any questions arise as to the actual status of the project, the project manager should always have the most accurate and up-to-date answers. The project manager should also be in charge of identifying and correcting performance issues as they arise.
2. Continue the feedback loop. As team members perform tasks, the most accurate way to measure their performance is to have them report back to their project manager on their progress.
3. Share performance measurements on a regular basis. Whether through a meeting or a memo, team members need to be informed about overall performance as well as individual performance. Providing information about current performance and comparing this to ideal performance can prompt team members to adjust their behaviors to come closer to achieving project goals.
Throughout implementation, two-way communication is the foundation for achieving project goals and objectives – and it must start with the project manager and implementation team. Clear, concise and correct communication is the most effective way to maintain a closed loop feedback system and motivate team members (and end-users) to continuously improve their performance.
Learn more about how to build a successful project team by visiting our ERP Staffing page.