ERP Project Team: Composition
An ERP implementation requires an investment in human and financial resources, regardless of size or scope of the project. Assembling a highly productive team is absolutely essential for the success of any ERP project, which requires building a healthy team structure and choosing the right team members. This blog’s focus is on the most common team structures and three guiding principles to follow when assembling the team for your ERP implementation project.
There are typically three team structures within an ERP implementation team:
- The Executive Steering Team (EST) makes up the highest level of management for the project. The EST consists of senior managers who head the various departments impacted by the project. One of the key responsibilities of this team is to define the scope in terms of time and budget. Team members may include the Chief Implementation Officer, implementation partners from outside consulting firms, and the other department heads such as the Sales or Accounting Manager.
- The Project Management Team (PM) reports directly the EST. Experts in the field recommend that project managers are not recruited directly from the IT department because ERP implementations should not be confused with IT projects; they are a much more collaborative and dynamic and therefore should not be led by the IT team, although the PM team should most definitely include an IT Project Lead. The PM team should also include a Consulting Project Manager, as well as a Site Manager if the implementation is a multi-site project.
- The Core Team takes on the actual execution of the project, including business analysis, consulting, and development. As head of the Core Team, the Team Lead is in charge of communicating with the PM team. Other team members consist of one or more Application Consultants, Functional Analysts, and Internal Developers. The combination of these roles depend on the size of the project. A Site Coordinator will also be necessary if the project involves multiple sites.
Three guiding principles for selecting an effective team
Principle #1: Choose people based on their competencies, not on their job title. There are several reasons for this. First of all, companies usually choose individuals at the managerial level because they assume that managers are more knowledgeable about the project. This can be true; however, these individuals are usually quite busy, which could result in the project taking longer than intended. Second, choosing non-management employees who understand the process could be used as a motivational tool. They are likely to be more dedicated to the project because they see that you recognize their abilities.
Principle #2: Empower your team to make decisions. Some employees may have a much clearer picture of how to improve the process. It often takes courage to say it out loud. Empowering the team helps these individuals step out of their comfort zone and express their own ideas and could help increase productivity and efficiency.
Principle #3: Keep communication between all levels smooth. Keeping everyone on the same page is essential for an ongoing project. A daily meeting (called a “standup” if your implementation partner uses the agile approach to project management like ArcherPoint), whether in person or using a tool like Skype, is necessary, especially when it comes to reviewing what the team has achieved, what they are going to achieve, and what obstacles may become problems if not addressed.
There is a lot of planning required before an ERP project is launched. Choosing the right people for your implementation team can not only make the process more productive, but can also save your company money and time.