ERP Project checklist – what to take into consideration when implementing an ERP system

There are many labels you can attach to an ERP project, but none of them is “easy-peasy”. Learning from other’s mistakes is never a bad idea. Have a look at our list of most common pitfalls that can derail your ERP implementation and prepare accordingly to avoid them!

Implementing an ERP system is a joint effort of Customer and Supplier
Both a Customer, and a Supplier need to pull their weight in order to make a project success. Choose a Supplier that offers deep vertical expertise, can communicate well with your stakeholders and has confirmed availability for the duration of the project. On the other hand, you will need to bring to the table enough vision and decision power to provide the Supplier with adequate information at the right time.

System implementation means that your employees will work longer hours
Sounds trivial but is often neglected and not discussed as a major project risk or at least something that we need to consider and prepare for accordingly. Every single one of us needs to work extra hours from time to time. For most of us it won’t be a problem to work one extra hour every day for a week. But working 4 extra hours? What about 8? For two weeks? For a month? There are stages of a project when exactly such amount of extra workload is required. And since not many people can work 16 hours a day for longer periods of time, it’s really important to distribute tasks well around your team, to have some back-up, to hire a temp worker or simply to plan most hectic project time in your lowest season.
These are the tasks that will consume most of your employee’s time:
· Analysis (workshop meetings); up to 8 hours a day
· End-User training; up to 8 hours a day
· User Acceptance Tests; 4-8 hours a day
· Go-Live support; 4-8 hours a day
These are the tasks that require intermediate engagement:
· Documentation analysis/comments; up to 4 hours a day
· Data migration – preparing data; up to 4 hours a day
These are the tasks that are mostly realized by a Supplier and will require only minimum effor from your team:
· System Set-up
· System modifications
· Creating interfaces
Most probably your Supplier will consult you on some details from time to time, but average engagement of your team shouldn’t exceed 1 hour per day.

“Start With the End in Mind”
It’s not only one of the most famous quotes by Stephen R. Covey, but also your credo when implementing an ERP system. Your Supplier should bring expertise and best practices to the table, but if you lack vision, you won’t be satisfied with the end result. Nobody knows better the pains that you are currently experiencing or in which direction will your company develop in the next several years. As a minimum you should have a list of goals you would like to achieve at the end of the implementation and discuss them with your Supplier when deciding about the final approval of the project.

If you are entertaining the thought of implementing and ERP system, chances are that your company is growing quickly. Maybe it has outgrown it’s current solution?
How do you make sure that in the future you won’t face the wall much sooner than you would like to? Maybe there are some changes your company is going to experience that are easy to predict… Will you enter new markets? Will you need 3 times as many users as you currently have? Are you going to open production plant?
Make sure that you system can grow with you and provide at least all those things that you can predict you will need in the near future.

Are you sure you have taken everything into account?
As complex as they are, ERP projects tend to be derailed by a set of obstacles that are pretty easy to predict. Treat it as a summary of this article and at the same time as your checklist when preparing for your next ERP implementation:
· VISION: Start with the end with mind
· GOAL: Do you know what you want to achieve and what problems to solve?
· CHANGE: What changes do you anticipate the system will need to adapt in the coming years?
· RESOURCES: Do you have a plan how to manage your resources when project pressure mounts?
· SINGLE POINT OF FAILURE: Do you have a backup for every single point of failure that you have identified? (Example: using Azure temporarily if your IT infrastructure is not ready on time)
· HOLIDAYS: Did you take into account bank holidays and vacation leaves when planning the timeline of your implementation?
· HIGH/LOW SEASON: Does your project plan take into account fluctuating availability of your employees?