When it comes to an ERP implementation, it can be wildly tempting to keep costs down by relying on internal resources to get the job done. While your employees certainly need to be involved at every step, it is important not to lean so heavily on their expertise and insight that you overestimate their availability and willingness to divert attention from their own critical tasks. It can be a fine line to walk. Following are some tips on how to best include your best people:
- Make sure you’re staffing with folks who are available. If some of your staff are already up to their ears in the details of another major project or initiative, respect the preexisting situation and try to limit their involvement in the ERP implementation until the time is right for them to transition. It would make anyone ill at ease to hear that the work they’d been valiantly struggling to accomplish on Friday is suddenly back-burnered on Monday.
- Don’t assume that the ERP project is of the utmost importance to everyone. If your organization’s communications about the implementation have been sparse or spotty, your staff probably won’t understand the importance of the project’s success and their unique role in creating that success. Thus, their level of enthusiasm or interest may not be to the level anticipated. Overcome this hurdle by taking the time to talk to your people about their roles in the initiative and address their concerns on an individual basis before assigning responsibilities.
- Don’t lose sight of the forest. When determining your staffing structures, remember why you hired these people in the first place: to keep your business running, not to implement ERP software. If your project plan indicates that key people will be pulled off their jobs for time during the implementation, then you must examine the opportunity cost of such a play . . . can your business handle the hit?