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The Warning Signs of a Poorly Managed ERP Project

You can select the right software and employ all the right technical resources and business experts but your organization’s ERP implementation will struggle to succeed without leadership from a knowledgeable project manager and support from outside experts who want to see your project manager – and your ERP implementation – succeed.

Given the complexity of an ERP implementation, poor project management can be somewhat hard to define. After all, expected durations and budgets are blown in even well-managed scenarios. But if you’re taking the time to read this article, you might just have a little inkling into some potential issues.

Following are four signs that your ERP project may be suffering from poor project management:

1.   Multiple project managers and frequent turnover – In most cases, electing a single project manager is sufficient fort implementation. Designating more than one project or program manager to oversee an ERP implementation can cause alignment issues and reporting inconsistencies. To ensure accurate reporting, organizations should require a project manager to hold his or her position for the duration of the project. If a project manager has to be replaced mid-project, the new project manager may not have the background to know what the organization values and what it needs from an ERP system.

2.   Project manager with a lack of direction, accountability and incentive to make the project succeed – Project managers should be responsible for managing all components of an implementation including project governance, risk, team performance, scheduling, communication and more. In order to successfully manage all of these responsibilities, project managers need incentive – they need to know they are being held accountable and they need to be passionate about project goals and business objectives.

3.   Project manager with a lack of implementation expertise – Your organization’s project manager should have previous implementation experience, preferably at a similar type of organization. Inevitably, every project manager will have blind spots but he or she should at least know enough to know what he/she don’t know. If these blind spots can be identified then an organization will have a better idea of what to look for in any third-party resource engaged with to complement or supplement the project manager’s skill set.

4.   Relying primarily on internal resources with little outside project management support – Most organizations don’t have enough people to devote to an ERP implementation so reinforcement is usually necessary. Many organizations turn to ERP consultants to fill in the holes and take some of the weight off of internal resources. When it comes to organizational change management and business process reengineering, project managers cannot be expected to know or have time for everything involved. Third-party ERP consultants can be useful in guiding project managers through these difficult but essential project components.

If your organization’s project manager lacks expertise or motivation it may be time to call in reinforcements. Panorama’s ERP Staffing services help organizations manage the workload of an ERP implementation and enable the success of their current ERP project manager or provide resources for replacement.

Learn more by downloading Chapter Four of An Expert’s Guide to ERP Success.

Written by Jennifer Aldrich

As a creative and analytical-minded digital content strategist, Jennifer is experienced in writing, data analysis, communication strategy and social media. As the Marketing Lead at Panorama, Jennifer supports all of the company’s marketing and content development initiatives and regularly writes blog posts about best practices in organizational change management and other ERP implementation components. Jennifer holds a BA in Public Relations from Colorado State University.

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2 Comments

  1. There is, in my opinion, a critical 5th factor: Project Manager experience within the business or government domain.

    ERP projects are as much business at IT-related. Deep knowledge of the underlying software and good project management experience is often not enough for success. The business domain can have important characteristics that affect resistance to change, management will, business process definition etc.

  2. Good observation, Doug. Project management experience related to change management and process definition is essential.

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