ERP blogger Eric Kimberling points out reasons that he, we and others have seen lead to project failure. He lists a few in a recent post, including:
- Lack of executive buy-in
- Poor project management and controls
- Unrealistic expectations early in the project
- Too much focus on the technical aspects of the implementation
- Choosing the wrong software for your organization
- Too much customization of the software
- Failure to regularly identify and mitigate implementation risks along the way
To avoid project failure, Kimberling gives three tips if you’ve gone off the tracks:
- Perform an assessment of your current project. Start by assessing project management, governance, and controls; organizational change management; data migration; business process reengineering; testing; and integration and customization. You’ll zero in pretty quickly on your Achilles Heel.
- Look for common warning signs. Was there insufficient testing… not enough conference room pilots… too few users involved… not enough attention paid to the non-technical aspects of implementation… too little regard for customizations or configuration required to meet your team’s workflows? Caught early, most are easily remedied. Just don’t be afraid to pull the project stop cord for a bit when you see them.
- Develop a project recovery plan. To correct issues or remediate risks revealed by the warning signs, have a plan. It can be formal or, more likely, updates to your current implementation plan. Include people, processes, and technology and don’t try to solve world peace in one pass. Pick the low-hanging fruit, starting if possible with the areas having the greatest impact on operations.
These simple tips won’t rescue a totally failed implementation, but if you heed the early warning signs, you can eliminate some back-tracking, focus on just the next couple of steps, and regain your footing until you merge back into the original, if now slightly altered, game plan.