ERP Project Management for Maximum Results
In ERP project management you forget people at your peril. They are the critical success factor in any business project. We often portray project management with the words resource, timescales, budget; a process ensuring the right people are doing the right activities at the right time in the right place. Very little attention is given to how to get people to do the appropriate actions, i.e. how to manage the project environment.
ERP project management tools such as Gantt charts, work packages, process flows, documentation packs, issues and actions list etc. are vital to any project. If the project is not managed, these tools will only tell you that the project is slipping; they will not give you any clue what to do about it. Organisations with a strong strategy, understood by everyone and clear business drivers for the project in question, will find it much easier to implement a solution than those whose people have little idea as to why the plan is necessary.
Organisations with results orientated culture are generally more successful in project management, provided there is not a culture of blame or fear. Projects are easy in organisations when people can take a risk, because they know if they do start to struggle the business will support them and ensure a positive outcome.
Financial constraints have a significant impact on projects. Organisations taking a longer-term view about the benefits of the project and avoid ‘penny-pinching’ will yield a better ROI.
Managing a successful project
Gradient has been successfully managing projects for over 15 years. The majority of our consultants have been managing projects even longer than that. Experience has proven that projects do not happen in isolation; they are part of a highly complex environment. The project environment affects the project because it affects the people whose efforts are required to make the project succeed.
The success or otherwise of previous projects will have a direct impact on the current project. Past projects that have been successful, with members of the project team benefiting as well the organisation as a whole, will impact positively on existing projects; in the outcome, you will see people are confident. Failed projects and projects with links to redundancy will cause fear and despair among staff.
A project team with a robust skill set is paramount to a successful project. Some organisations have the ability to select the best team members from a large pool; others have to work with what they get. For example, if only one person is working in sales order processing, a project encompassing that function must include that person, regardless of their abilities. Recognising the contribution staff will need to make ahead of time and giving them the skills to perform is essential to project success.
Organisational politics, whether we like it or not, are a part of corporate life; organisations that already have functions which work together and strong management teams are the easiest to manage projects in. Conversely, organisations that have a strong silo management mentality are challenging to achieve successful projects.
Finally, give thought to other projects planned or established. Organisations are bogged down with initiative overload, and critical resources become overstretched when too many projects run concurrently. In a Gradient managed project, the first stage is to measure the project readiness of the organisation. To do this means to analyse the project environment. Some issues can be resolved before a project commences; others will merely help the project manager understand the real problems. Therefore it is better to deal with issues that arise during the project.
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