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July, 2007

In the June issue of Innovative Thinking, we talked about key issues in due diligence and their importance to a successful ERP project. This month, we continue our ERP Done Right series - with a discussion of CHANGE MANAGEMENT. Put your ERP Done Right articles together and you'll have a cookbook for great ERP results. Don't miss a single issue!

Change Management - manage it proactively or get swallowed up by it! By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

ERP implementations are all about change. We could write a book on change management (now there’s an idea!), but for now we’ll just identify the areas of change that an ERP project typically impacts and some key points about managing that change.

Most organizations implementing ERP want change. POSITIVE CHANGE. Change in productivity, change in business processes, change in information availability and ultimately change in the bottom line.

Don't underestimate change. If you’re doing ERP, you’re changing. Admit it. However, although everyone acknowledges that an ERP implementation involves change, executives frequently underestimate the impact of change. Why? They fail to understand just how many things are changing, and what that means to the organization. Executives frequently think that because they’re selling the same products to the same customers at the same price, that ERP doesn’t involve that much change!

Change comes in many forms.

Business Processes. Jobs, processes, work flow, how people organize their work and their day, shifting responsibilities from one department to another.

Project related. Change of scope, change of schedule, resources, sequence, project team, etc.

Business related. During the life cycle of an ERP project, any dynamic business is bound to change, new requirements will come up and have to be dealt with.

Manage change proactively or be swallowed up by it! Make change management a key component of the project. Organize change management as a separate and integrated sub-project within your implementation from Day 1. Make someone on your team responsible for identifying areas of change and reporting back to the PM and the steering committee the impact of those changes along with plans for addressing the issues. Discuss change management at every major project review meeting.

Readiness for change is a critical aspect of cutover. Many times change issues can result in adjustments to the project plan, scope of the implementation or time line. We were called in to revitalize a stalled ERP implementation. The client was ready to roll out a new manufacturing system when the conference room pilot pointed out that the manufacturing people were totally lost about how they were going to operate going forward. While the manufacturing representative on the team understood, that information had not been successfully absorbed by the rest of the manufacturing team. After a few months of process review, training and adjustments to some basic system setup, they were ready to go.

Don't confuse change management with training.

    “I had 10 days of training in the project plan. Doesn’t this cover change management?” If you’ve been following along by now you know that change management isn’t a task on the project plan that happens at the end. It’s an integral part of a project that’s all about change.

    Companies that implement ERP want change – POSITIVE CHANGE. Manage change proactively and your chances of success will be improved!

Tip of the Month

Project Status Meetings - a Necessary Evil?
By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

I estimate that I have attended about a billion meetings (it certainly feels that way). Of the various types of meetings I have probably attended more project status meetings than any other kind. Most people dread these meetings, project managers and team members alike, for reasons I will not discuss here. Instead I am going to run a series of tips for a project manager to help remove the dreaded feelings you may get about these meetings.

First, let me answer the question raised in my title. Are these meetings necessary? Absolutely. Are they evil? Not when they are done correctly. This series of tips will show you how to do them correctly.

A time and place for everything.. Like most things there is a time and place for a project status meeting and this month’s tip discusses the “time” for them. Simply put, you must schedule these meetings on a regular basis, not when it feels like a good time to have one. Depending on the size and complexity of the project this could be weekly or every other week. However, they should almost always be the same day and the same time (e.g. every Monday at 10 AM). They should also end at a regular time. Project team members will know when it is and plan around it, including accomplishing actions needed for the project.

The best laid plans of mice and men. Of course there will be times when it is not feasible or possible to have the meeting (e.g. Labor Day falls on a Monday). You could “skip” a meeting or you could reschedule the meeting. When should this be decided? Not later than the end of the meeting before the one that needs rescheduling. After all, the people that need to attend the rescheduled meeting are in the room and have your undivided attention. If an emergency situation occurs just before the meeting make a quick decision and communicate it to all in an appropriate manner.

What's new?

Look for our new feature in next month's newsletter - The Question of the month!! Between our blog and our newsletter we've been getting a growing number of ERP related questions. Beginning next month, we'll highlight a question and give our usual witty and snappy answer!!. Are we on track? You be the judge.

Word Scramble time.
“The process of dealing with the various impacts of an ERP project." (2 words)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramble.

“Various alternatives for implementing and accessing an ERP system."(2 words) (DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS)

A Look Ahead To Next Month

In August we'll continue ERP Done Right when we discuss gathering business requirements.

We want your feedback. Contact us

Innovative IT Consulting, LLC
(631) 549-1685