Addressing Personnel Bandwidth Restrictions and The Path to a Successful Cloud ERP Implementation (Part 1 of 5)
December 13, 2018
ERP implementations are like a snowflake during a Nor’easter—no two that fall from the sky are alike. They come in all shapes, sizes and are a true test of teamwork. There are many moving parts to navigate during an implementation—all requiring the implementation team and client to foster a solid, cohesive relationship. In this series we will discuss the most common implementation pitfalls as well as strategies to avoid them.
To the frustration of many, time is a finite resource and clients still have to perform their current jobs on top of participating in an ERP implementation. Implementation partners understand that before realizing all of the benefits of a new ERP system, learning a new, modern, and sophisticated ERP accounting system is not easy.
One of the keys to avoiding personnel bandwidth restrictions is by proactively addressing it at the start of an implementation:
- Review the project plan and understand the effort required from all stakeholders during different phases of the project.
- Define all roles and responsibilities so the proper people are working on the proper tasks—this allows for effective delegation and efficient communication.
Once the project has already kicked off, there are several things that can be done throughout the project to minimize this risk:
- Hold regular status meetings with all key stakeholders in order to understand upcoming tasks and coordinate the completion of each task with everyone’s schedule.
- Set deadlines and assign ownership of tasks so someone is taking responsibility and thinking through how the task fits into their schedule.
- Discuss PTO scheduled during the implementation timeline, so tasks can be scheduled accordingly.
Sometimes it’s impossible to predict bandwidth restrictions, but it can be possible to offset this concern by utilizing the following techniques:
- Know your slack time and how to re-prioritize tasks: There is a desired order of completing activities for the most efficient path to go-live, but obstacles always arise. For example, if all reports are slated to be built and signed-off on before go-live, but an unforeseeable circumstance arises which requires the shifting of tasks—are there certain reports that can be post-launch priorities? By shifting a few tasks to later dates, you are able to keep the overall project timeline—the ultimate goal.
- Move deadlines: While no one wants to alter deadlines, sometimes it’s better to delay an action item than to create unnecessary friction, which could have a trickle-down effect into other areas of the implementation. For example, if the primary person responsible for completing the majority of the work is buried in an audit with immovable deadlines, it’s better to find additional resources to help or move the deadlines of the implementation than to have unrealistic expectations of when the work can be complete. This scenario requires timely communication to understand when the individual will have more bandwidth and how to reschedule the deadlines.
Running into personnel bandwidth restrictions will halt a project dead in its tracks. It’s important to know the project plan, understand everyone’s role, and be aware of their time restrictions in order to avoid running into issues.
- Part 2: Avoiding Scope Creep
- Part 3: Sufficient Training
- Part 4: User Acceptance Training (UAT)
- Part 5: Data Reconciliation