ERP implementations typically involve numerous pressures. You and your vendors are coordinating tasks and work disruptions across multiple stakeholder groups and functional areas. Many of the organization’s core systems will be affected as integrations with other platforms are built out and data flows expand. Your end users need support in the form of training and workflow modification.
In the midst of a hectic task load, the pressure to go live with the new ERP on time is tremendous. Unfortunately, teams sometimes realize near the end that their activities haven’t kept pace and they’re at risk of missing the cutover date. If you’re worried your ERP system won’t be ready for use as planned, here are some steps you can take to save your project from failure.
Regroup right now
This may seem like the worst time to pause, but charting a new path to success requires that you step back and bring the team together. You want to understand the details of what’s going on and what’s gone wrong. Review your project data and tap your team’s collective knowledge to build a picture of your project’s current state.
Evaluate your deliverables and assess the status of each
Look at what your ERP project was developed to accomplish and honestly gauge how close you are to achieving each of those goals. You may be on track for some but running behind—or completely off the rails—on others. Before you can create a recovery plan, it’s important to know where you stand.
Identify all activities that are behind schedule (even just a little bit)
You need to understand just how much of your task list has fallen behind the planned timeline. Only when you know the scale of delayed activities can you realistically assess the amount of effort and resources it will require to realign your plan with the original cutover date.
Revisit and revise your task duration estimates
Look across your project plan and flag where incorrect or incomplete task duration estimates may have driven at least some of your schedule deviations. Revise the durations for these activities so you have more accurate data to inform your strategy moving forward.
Reset the project to deliver a minimum viable product in time for the cutover date
Now that you know what’s progressing according to plan and what’s behind schedule, you can begin developing a plan to bring your project back to a successful path. Even if you don’t have enough time and resources to restore your entire timeline to a healthy state, you may still be able to reset expectations around delivering a minimum viable product (MVP). This is essentially the bare level of functionality your ERP needs to go live.
Work with your stakeholder groups to understand which features and capabilities are required in the MVP and which can be added post-cutover. By pushing out lower-priority tasks, your team can immediately turn their full attention to the top-level activities that must be completed to achieve the necessary functionality.
Develop a workable plan to swiftly wrap up the remaining deliverables
With a new vision of success helping to move the project ahead, you can rework the plan to deliver your MVP on time. Create a schedule to complete critical-path tasks before the cutover date, then develop a timeline to execute activities that are outside the MVP scope. Remember (and remind stakeholders) that you aren’t eliminating anything from the project. Instead, the new plan gives your team room to succeed while also giving sponsors and end users confidence that the project will be completed and that nothing will fall through the cracks.