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Adam’s recipe for ERP project success

At Fenwick we combine our systems expertise in Business Central with your understanding of your business. We provide effective project management, but we also rely on clients to have their own expectations set in place.

Every ERP implementation needs someone from both parties planning expectations around what can be delivered, by when, and for how much.

Project management with Adam

Adam is the guy at Fenwick who knows a thing or two about planning and solving all of life’s problems in an Excel spreadsheet. His brief is to ensure that the company’s projects run smoothly and are successful. Having worked as a Project Manager on the client side of the project ledger, Adam has a firm understanding of a client’s expectation around budget, schedule, quality control and communication.

The current state of the ERP industry presents bigger challenges for Adam. There is a need for increased speed-to-market with products and services. Projects are larger, more complex and increasingly difficult to manage. Software projects carry significant uncertainty which can lead to situations where a change to schedule, cost, quality or functionality needs to be considered.

Adam’s recipe for success

Considering these challenges and his 3 years of experience in ERP, Adam has developed a 6-step recipe for success. Any implementation can benefit from these foolproof steps:

1. Know what you want and why you want it

Do you want a system to fit your processes or do you want to change your processes to fit the system? What are the objectives and what are the benefits? This is what success will be measured against.

For example, your business may need an improved Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). Deciding this as the main objective, you need to define what you want from the system. Upon investigation you may decide you want Business Central to fit the framework of your existing CRM, in order to avoid disruption to operation. From here the company may define one of the benefits as: to achieve a more reliable CRM that keeps the same original framework but synchronises better with operations.

2. Understand that scope, cost, schedule and quality are interdependent constraints

You can’t have everything, so agree before you commence the implementation on where your priorities lie. That is, which constraints are rigid, and which are a little more elastic?

If you add to the scope, it will most likely increase the cost. If the cost is fixed however, you may need to reduce training or go-live support to fund the scope change. That will mean a decrease in quality. While each decision throughout the project will be made on its merits, it should be determined which are your highest priority (the least elastic) and which have room for movement.

For example, a ridgid priority may be an unmovable project go-live date. An elastic priority may be incorporating a Mobile Warehouse Management system (WMS). The addition of a WMS could benefit the company however the project team could conclude that it isn’t a necessity. Moving the project go-live date however, could seriously impact the company in terms of cost and time.

3. Build your project team early and identify your decision makers

Have your project team agree on what the aspirational to-be state is. When system requirements are gathered in the business analysis workshops, it will pay to have people present who are empowered to make decisions.

For example, if a system requirement like warehouse complexity was being discussed in a workshop, it would be vital to have a warehouse manager present to make informed decisions.

4. Have a dedicated project resource

Use a dedicated project resource. There will be a plethora of actions for your project team to perform, so you need a wrangler with good communication skills. They’ll also provide valuable continuity through the various solution design decisions.

5. Don’t underestimate the effort required of your project team and end users

Be realistic about your own timeframe, budget and effort required. Implementing Business Central is a collaborative undertaking involving 30-40% Fenwick effort and 60-70% your effort. A successful implementation needs resources to be available to complete their tasks by the scheduled due dates. You need to ensure they have the capacity to do so.

6. Manage the change

People rarely cope well with change, so it needs to be done right. Keep everyone informed about how they will be impacted and make sure they feel supported. Reassure that the change will lead to benefits and business growth.

Considering these 6 points early, project success is more likely. An organized mindset minimizes typical initial project issues. Having these points under control means our consultants can focus on the Business Central solution, and improving business end to end.