Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software symbolizes change for nearly everyone involved in any ERP project. No surprises there considering the business transformation an investment in your business ERP represents. So change is good, right?
Yes… and no. Change is natural and should be expected. The idea is not to stop change but to control it. On a large scale, when change is poorly managed, it not only affects your ability to meet the project’s expectations, it increases your risk of project failure. Broken down into smaller parts, lack of project change control negatively impacts the budget, timeline, and resource management. When that happens, you’ve effectively lost control of your project.
Organizations seeking the many ongoing benefits of ERP are ultimately looking for improved methodologies and added structure, and thorough planning for ERP implementation gets you acquainted with those concepts early. By not skimping on your ERP implementation planning, you avoid surprises and project setbacks while keeping everyone on the same page throughout implementation and well beyond launch.
Put simply, your project scope is your roadmap. Defining and controlling your ERP project scope by clearly outlining the objectives will drive your success. Control your ERP implementation project before it controls you with the following tips:
Identify the unique problems from which your business suffers, look for areas of improvement and document the expectations from ERP software and how it will affect key business functions.
Determining your objectives is one of the most critical steps. If you’ve effectively reviewed your business processes for areas of improvement, you may realize a range of important issues with many objectives. It’s no cause for concern once you’ve checked, rechecked, and documented how each of the objectives you’ve outlined is essential to the project.
While the previous tip suggests numerous ERP project objectives is not, in and of itself, a bad thing, you’ll need to ensure you’re not adding complexities to the implementation process with anything but mission-essential requirements. Once you’ve gotten lean on your requirements, a crucial aspect to staying lean is properly managing change requests for the project’s duration.
Scope change control gives your organization early protection from the chaos brought by unnecessary changes and scope creep. A structured approach is required for change requests in order to maintain the integrity of your project and its scope. The elements of your structured approach are entirely defined by your organization, but keep it structured.
Elements of your structured approach should include the request itself supported by the conditions relevant to your organization. How will it impact the customer? The budget? Projected deadlines? What business return can be expected from the change? With so many variables, it’s easy to see why change control is so important.
By now you might be wondering what sort of changes warrant a change request. It’s important to acknowledge while adding new features are the obvious initiators of change requests, they are not the sole initiators. Those involved in your ERP implementation project should expect that any change with the potential to impact the defined project expectations, in any form, will initiate the formalized, structured change request process you’ve installed.
Your team should consist of an internal project team, with a designated project manager. An internal project manager will create your ERP implementation plan detailing each step of the project. An effective project team will bring a range of skill sets with them having at least one common skill required from everyone: effective communication.
Once you’ve delivered on the business objectives identified in your project scope, including the formally-approved changes, you’ve arrived at ERP implementation success. It’s not an easy task, but with our tips to control your ERP implementation project, you should expect the process to be smoother with higher returns.
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