Keeping ERP Project Management Simple

How do you keep track of what’s going on with your ERP software project on both a day to day and long term basis?

Traditional project management tools and techniques can allow you to keep track of complicated timelines, involving multiple departments at various stages of completion.

If however, you use project management software daily, a situation can exist where key people are spending more time updating the project software and feeding the system, than they are actively working on the project itself.

Further, in most companies the majority of the personnel working on an implementation project have “day jobs”; what they actually get paid to do.

At the same time, for long range planning purposes, project phase management and interdependent project activities, a well thought out project timeline is mandatory. A project plan is the only way for management to project the needed resources in people, time and money in the intermediate and long term.

So, use the fancy software up front and monthly or quarterly to update the big picture plan; to determine if your project is still on track to Go Live. The project plan is not then just a “chart on the wall”, not some stale dated piece of paper. It is a periodic review and reference of project status.

OK, so you have the big picture of the project created and routinely updated, but how do you handle day to day, week to week task management activities?

Talk to people!

Have a Weekly Team Status Meeting

Like most everyone else, I hate meetings. However, the best way that I have found to manage “next actions” or current tasks is a well run ERP status meeting.

I recommend that the meeting:
• Happens every week without fail.
• Be started on time.
• Occurs early in the week – preferably on Monday morning.
• Be documented in Word or Excel and made easily available to everyone concerned.
• Take no more than one hour – shoot for 30 minutes.

You must demand that everyone come to the meeting prepared to discuss the following:

• Last weeks completed tasks.
• Tasks being worked on this week.
• Challenges AND proposed solutions – don’t let this one get away from you – i.e. NO rabbit trails.

Minutes can be organized in any of the following ways but BE CONSISTENT.
• Person
• Process
• Or any other way that makes sense to you.

Optional
• New Business / Old Business – this can DRAG the meeting down so be careful!

This meeting can hold the team together, allow for efficient communication and keep things moving forward.

Coupled with a periodic project plan update, you can invest a minimal amount of time in project and task management and be confident that you know what’s going on with the project.

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