Every ERP software implementation is difficult, riddled with pitfalls, risks, and common mistakes. Most fall into the various traps of an ERP implementation, but few effectively navigate those traps once they’ve fallen in.
But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get your project back on track if and when you encounter those risks.
First, it helps to understand why projects fail. The reasons are numerous, but some of the more common reasons are things such as:
- Lack of executive buy-in
- Poor project management and controls
- Unrealistic expectations early in the project
- Too much focus on the technical aspects of the implementation
- Choosing the wrong software for your organization
- Too much customization of the software
- Failure to regularly identify and mitigate implementation risks along the way
While there is no way to avoid these risks altogether, there are ways to address and mitigate them along the way. Here are three ways to get your implementation back on track:
1. Perform an Assessment of Your Current Project
Effective project recovery begins with an objective understanding of where the project is and trying to pinpoint where the project went off track. The best way to do this is to perform an implementation project assessment. This should be an objective view of the people, process, and technology components of our project, along with an assessment of the project from several more detailed “project lenses” that are important to an implementation.
For example, these are just a few of the common areas worth assessing in your project:
- Project management, governance, and controls
- Organizational change management
- Data migration
- Business process reengineering
In addition to these and other areas of importance, any implementation should be objectively assessed to identify the problem areas and opportunities for improvement.
2. Look for Common Warning Signs
As part of the assessment identified in step #1, it is important to look for common warning signs that portend a potential failure – or, at the very least, problems that could lead to failure later on.
In a recent blog, we identified thirteen warning signs we commonly see in troubled ERP software implementations. Some of the early indicators of trouble include things like: not enough iterations of conference room pilots, no organizational change activities beyond training, and not addressing the non-technical aspects of your implementation. These and other warning signs need to be identified as part of your implementation project assessment. Caught early enough, these indicators can be remediated before they turn into bigger risks.
3. Develop A Project Recovery Plan
Once you’ve identified the warning signs during your project assessment, it’s time to define how you’re going to remediate those risks. This could through either a formal project recovery plan, and/or updates to your implementation plan and strategy.
The recovery plan should cover the people, process, and technology aspects of your implementation. And remember to not try boiling the ocean. Even just addressing the low-hanging fruit rather than trying to improve everything at once can have a material impact on your project and help get it back on track.
Don’t be discouraged by warning signs or difficulties you may be facing. Through assessment, analysis, and experience, you’ll be able to get your project back on track. For more info, watch our on demand webinar Confessions of an ERP Expert Witness, which highlights some of these warning signs in more detail.