Abstract Image of Business People's Silhouettes in a MeetingRecovering from a failing project is an incredibly difficult process. It can require a change in project scope, a hard look at requirements, an introduction of new methodologies and clear project controls. In some extreme situations, the project team and consultants may need to be replaced.  After a sobering, no holds barred assessment; the following actions must be taken.

1. Reexamine the ERP Software. Determining if the ERP software was originally a good fit for the organization is the first step to recovery. The recovery team must determine if the project team evaluated the ERP options appropriately or chose specific software based on invalid assumptions. While the software is often the immediate culprit, often times it is merely a symptom of the real failure issues: failure to provide adequate change management and/or clinging to outdated processes.

2. Reorganize the ERP Project with the Experts. A failing ERP implementation shares many characteristics of bankruptcy. Reorganization, refocus and accountability are necessary actions to begin the road to recovery. An independent set of eyes can avoid the blamestorming game, move the project into results-oriented brainstorming and ultimately get back on track.

3. Identify, Educate and Provide the Resources to Move Forward. While it is tempting to throw the failure out the back window, walking away does not solve issues that required an ERP implementation in the first place. In fact, simply trying to erase the ERP system will do nothing but derail future effectiveness, agility and return on citizenship (ROC) that are still required by the government. The right resources are likely inside the organization and can be refocused on the revived ERP implementation with the right mix of leadership, change management and backing.

One thing seems abundantly clear: there are still a great deal of ERP and other software projects running off the rails. Blaming and rebooting ERP vendors is only one fix in a broader ecosystem that includes the government customers and the system integrators. Solving this problem requires close coordination and an independent catalyst to keep them on track, on time and on budget.

Project Management Oversight and IV&V can help you with staying away from a failure for your organization.

Written by Rich Farrell, Senior Account Executive at Panorama Consulting Solutions.

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