Concept Phase

At the outset of the ERP project the project manager needs to build a series of relationships built on mutual respect and trust. The preparation of the project documents will clearly show the skills of the project manager and will encompass his intentions during the project.One of the first tasks of the project manager is to assemble a successful team who would be responsible for the outcome of the project.  SME Project Management Services believes strongly that members of an ERP project team can only succeed or fail as a whole and will share the benefits and costs of collective success or failure.

“Project managers must be given adequate authority to make decisions at a higher level which will enhance their credibility with the stakeholder.” Young

A successful team is one which has faced adversity during the project’s lifecycle and has been strengthened by its ability to manage the risks experienced during the project implementation.The project manager should be present at all initial meetings and and be able to develop a rapport with the project sponsors from early on in the project. Getting the project manager involved from an early stage is an important step in getting the organisation “geared” for an ERP project.A successful team consists of a carefully designed mixture of the right skills and personalities, people who can work together without dissension and conflict.  From past experience we know that conflict is inevitable and that any conflict or dissension will have a negative effect on the project. During the concept phase a project team needs to be assembled with specific skills that related to the ERP project and these skills need to be  documented in a Project definition document.

Organisational culture is often overlooked during the concept phase of an ERP system, which often leads to project failure. It has been the experience of the author that the ability of an organisation to adapt to the new ERP technology will have either a positive or negative outcome on the project. This theory is shown in the Baumhaus case study in that prior to implementation they were a disorganised organisation with no clearly defined processes. However post implementation they were an organisation with slick organised processes at the cutting edge of ERP technology.

“The configuration of an ERP in negotiations prior to implementation does result in significant impacts on client organisations.” Locke

No project can succeed without the full backing of the stakeholders, SME Project Management Services goes as far as to suggest that all projects need a project evangelist who will disseminate the project’s value throughout the organisation. All stakeholders have different agenda regarding their expected gain from a project. Taking this fact into consideration the project manager will need to identify these needs and try to best meet them within the context of the project. By doing this the project manager will gain additional support from the stakeholders that will be required at a later stage during the implementation.