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"Innovative Thinking" A Newsletter from Innovative IT Consulting In This Issue

March 2011

Change Management is only a two word phrase. But if there's one aspect of ERP systems that is consistently under-estimated this is it. We'll start tackling Change Management this month.

John Pellegrino offers up some sage advice on Questioning the Plan, when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. As usual there's a lot more to project management than tracking resources and due dates!

Paul Sita's blog posts for the Sage Business Management Blog continue to draw attention. Check out the latest post on Total Cost of Ownership - learn a few things that might keep you from getting off track! TCO - Don't Underestimate or Overestimate.

By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

Change is all around us. While changing ERP systems is a big change, the topic of Change Management is still one of the greatest stumbling blocks to ERP success. And even though the ERP white papers are full of words and reminders about Change Management, all too often this translates into a couple of Powerpoint slides about the "to-be" businss process vs. the "as-is" business process. But change goes way beyond this. Accepting change is one of the fundamental issues of our time. And getting an organization to accept and embrace change is one of the fundamental issues of ERP success. Without acceptance there is no successful ERP. And without successful Change Management, this is no acceptance.

Let's dig deeper into the problem. As IT professionals we tend to be overly analytical. We think that by explaining something others will accept it, since that is how it works for us. We tend to ignore the strong and even more powerful emotional connection and attachment that people have to how things are done. It is part of their daily routine. It is part of their feeling of competence and mastery. It is part of their self-esteem. So changing processes, regardless of how big an improvement it may make to "the organization", is a very distant second to the real FEAR and UNCERTAINTY that most users experience in the process of an ERP implementation.

It's not just a step in the process. First and foremost, you have to stop thinking about Change Management as another item on the project plan to be "checked off". Instead start from the perspective that the ERP project is a Change Process. The entire project is about change. As such, every step of the project has to include Change Management components. It's part of planning, it's part of system design, it's part of system setup, it's part of master data, it's part of reporting and analysis, and it's part of testing and training.

Working at it. Once you understand the depth of the problem, it's clear why the traditional approaches to change management are so inadequate. When we say "work at it" we encourage you to try additional steps, such as:

Informal sessions to get users talking about their fears and concerns.

Cross-functional sessions where new business processes can be discussed and the connection points better understood.

Embracing users more bringing them into project meetings to be part of the design.

More to come. Keeping with the theme of "working at it", there's a lot more to talk about in terms of Change Management, and we'll be doing so in the months ahead. Stay tuned!

By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

In my previous tip (in our January newsletter) I ended a series on good practices for implementation and development projects with a discussion of the critical success factor – the execution of the plan. I used football as the analogy – the coaches devise the strategy and game plan, the players execute it. I thought this would be a good segue into providing a series of tips for people that execute the projects instead of my usual tips for project managers. In smaller projects the project manager may have a second role as one of the resources to deliver the project. Or, you may be a project manager on one project and a resource on another. So, project managers should read these tips, too.

Know when to hold them. Let’s start with the first item you should learn about the project from any project manager worth his or her salt, the project plan. This plan should include the objectives, the expected benefits, the phases or milestones towards the objectives, the anticipated timeline, and the resource allocations. Should you “hold up” any objections you have to the plan for all to see and discuss? Absolutely! But, make sure you present your objections in a professional way and with solid rationalizations.

Know when to fold them. If your objections are heard and understood, but are not incorporated into the plan, should you bring them up every time you meet to discuss the project? Absolutely not! You should “fold them” up and put them in the back recesses of your mind. It is part of your job to execute the plan to a successful conclusion whether you agree with the whole plan or not. If, and only if, new evidence presents itself that supports your objection then you can bring it up again. And, if the plan is altered based on this new evidence, never use those four condescending words, “I told you so.”

"Two of the underlying factors in Change Management. (2 words) "

A R E F   N N C I Y E T R T U A

_ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramble.

"A place to get a snapshot of how your business is doing." (DASHBOARD)

Look for more timely and relevant content on real world ERP and Enterprise software issues including cost of ownership, change management, Business Intelligence and more . . . delivered right to your in box. Please keep checking the INNOVATIVE WEB SITE for useful tips, and our newsletter archives. Amaze your friends and colleagues with your expertise!

Change Management -

work at it!

The Art of Questioning the Plan.

When to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

Word scramble.

 

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