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Assemble an ERP Team that will Thrive in the Face of Adversity

Published: May 30, 2017
Mike is a Senior Manager for the IT Excellence practice at Tribridge. Read More

An ERP implementation is typically as difficult and trying as it is transformational. More of a marathon than a sprint, at times it can feel like it takes all you have to keep your head above water. ERP projects tend to fail at an alarming rate, but you can buck the trend by assembling a winning team. The most successful teams are not made up solely of senior members of the organization but instead include players at all levels, from the C-Suite to the employees who are in the trenches on a daily basis. You want to avoid a room full of executives making all the decisions without input from key stakeholders.

A good ERP implementation team should have:

  • C-Suite Executive Sponsorship
  • Executive Steering Committee
  • Project Management individual or small group
  • Subject Matter Experts (“SME’s”)
  • Business Process Owners
  • Super Users

The following are important roles when forming your teams:

1. Evangelist

Your evangelists have to be well respected and likeable. These are the people that will be rallying the troops and providing the consistent message of why this project is important to the company and to each individual employee. They should be seen as having high integrity and someone to follow or else the project will not build the necessary momentum required to sustain it through the long haul.

2. Toxic Personalities

Be aware of toxic personalities. It is tempting to put an employee on a team who is an expert at their respective job function but if they constantly complain or don't get along well with others, their presence will threaten the project. No matter how good they are at their job, avoid putting these people on your team if at all possible. The Project will be long and hard enough without personality traits that destroy team chemistry.

3. Key Employees

An ERP implementation is not a part time job. Your key employees are also usually the busiest. However, in order to be successful, some of them will need to be pulled away from their daily jobs and assigned to the project. It is

vital that you backfill for them so they can focus on the new ERP and not constantly be pulled in multiple directions. The business has to keep running so they can certainly be consulted when necessary, but their top priority has to be the ERP project.

4. Rising Stars

Include the open minded, rising superstars. An ERP implementation requires the team to challenge the status quo and shape future business processes, not just rebuild all the old ones in a new system. If your team consists of “lifers”, the employees that have been using the old system for 30 years, then you are guaranteed to have a team with deep knowledge and perspective, but unlikely to push the boundaries and move the organization forward. Look for people that are talented and promotable as they are the ones that will be the future leaders of the organization and have a great fundamental understanding of why business processes were designed like they were.

When assembling your team, in addition to ensuring you have the right roles defined, challenge every individual that is placed into those roles by asking if this the best person for the project. Choosing the smartest individuals does not necessarily mean you will arrive at the best team. Projects are long with many ups and downs that require open minded, positive thinking, team oriented people to ensure success.

Download our eBook "10 Days to ERP Success" and contact Tribridge to learn more about the advantages of a comprehensive strategic approach to long-term ERP success.

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