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How do we manage an ERP project?

Process of Implementing a Project.Oh I know you liked the title and you just want to see what am I going to suggest but I can tell you the below advice is not based on any book or the training sessions alone but it is based on the experience of managing more than 200 projects in last so many years of working in the CRM and ERP business.

Any project however simple it may seem, requires good planning and risk management strategies. By doing this, you will be able to manage the time, money, scope and people involved in the project more efficiently and you will increase the possibility of the success of the project.

Things can go wrong any time and there are so many factors that you have no control of. That is why predictable pre-planning activities must be given utmost importance and must be approached in a systematic manner. Here is one common stepwise strategy that we follow in almost all of our CRM and ERP projects at Target Integration:

In short,

  • Discovery Sessions
  • Workflow Diagrams
  • Requirements document creation
  • Gap analysis
  • MuSCow analysis
  • Project start

Discovery sessions

Discovery sessions are very important. In every project I have seen that there is always something that the user never thought of or something that has been taken as granted while working in the business/organisation. And a discovery session makes sure that you get to know about your existing processes and procedures of the organisation and put down the needs as well.

It is always good practice to start with a discovery session. The session helps us get together with all the stakeholders and start the task of finding the requirements of your project. This is when you will have to brainstorm about everything you need to do in your project. The typical tasks during Discovery Sessions are:

  • Requirements planning
  • Requirements analysis and documentation
  • Requirements verification and review
  • Requirements validation and acceptance
  • Requirements change management

Workflow diagrams

Once we have been through a Discovery session the time is to put down all the discovery in a number of workflow diagrams. The workflow diagrams decide how exactly our project will proceed. Its best to draw up workflow diagrams and schedule the project activities. These charts come in very handy at the time of implementing the ERP system. It lets you communicate the project scope and ideas to everyone involved and make sure things go according to plan.

Don’t forget a picture speaks a thousand words.

Requirement document creation

At this stage the customer/users may not have a formal specification list of requirements other than their scope or vision document and their workflow diagrams . Even if they do, it is time to refine it and reform the first draft. We make a finalized requirements specification document and get all the stake holders to approve. Don’t forget if you don’t bring everyone on board the project has higher possibility of  a failure.

Be very specific on this and include all details in your requirements document. Take all the exceptional cases and legalities into consideration as this is the document that will stand as the basic foundation of all your project activities.

Do not make writing requirements a single person job and always include the necessary experts. Make sure to get approvals from all stakeholders before you proceed with finalizing a requirement.

Gap analysis

Scientific approach is the best way to go in a fast moving world. Make use of gap analysis to ensure whether the project will be able to meet your business requirements. If the results show otherwise, you should start looking to ways on how to satisfy your business needs more effectively in your project.

MoSCow analysis

This is probably a step you need to take before drawing up the final requirements. Each stakeholder that is involved in the project may place a different level of importance to each requirement. At this stage it is important to come to common ground on which requirements to include which ones to exclude. For this you need a prioritization technique and MoSCow can be the best pick for you. MoSCow stands for Must have, Should have, could have and would like but won’t get.

Classify your requirements based on MoSCow prioritization and Include only what is achievable and needed for your project.

Project start

Once you are ready with all the requirements and resources, waste no time and go ahead with your project without causing any more delays.

But to be on the safer side, here is a check-list you need to be clear before starting your project.

  •       The statement of work
  •       Risk planning
  •       Secure resources
  •       Defining the project charter that includes the high level scope, timeline, assumptions, dependencies, roles and responsibilities for the project.
  •       Make sure the project methodology is well understood by everyone involved.
  •       Get approval from your stakeholders.

Start your project confidently and keep monitoring your progress. Take immediate steps in case of any deviation.


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