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How to Plan, Select, and Motivate Your ERP Project Team


How to Plan, Select, and Motivate Your ERP Project Team

It's been decided. Your organization has selected an ERP system to automate your business processes into one wholly integrated database. Either due to organic growth, outdated technology, or ever-changing business requirements, your organization will be implementing a best of breed solution with great expectations.

Along with those expectations is a growing perplexity of whom from the organization should be entrusted with such a grand responsibility. This responsibility can make or break a project. The decision to place your resources on the Project Team should not be taken lightly. The creation of a team of well-tuned, motivated, out of the box thinkers can be difficult to assemble. There are many factors that go into selecting the correct Project Team, and in this blog, we'll discuss some helpful hints on how to plan, select, and motivate your new ERP Project Team to set up your organization for success!

Planning for the Team

The fundamental factors in creating an ERP Project Team are time commitment, financial capabilities, and the scope of the project. These three factors will determine how the team will be compiled. Also playing a major role, is the size of the organization and the availability of resources. Below are areas to think about when planning your team.

  • What is the scope of the project?Is the first implementation slated for only one site or are there multiple sites in your plan? If there are multiple sites in your plan, are they local or are they remote? If there are multiple sites and/or remote sites, it is imperative that you include them on the team as fully functioning team member. Even if the second site is not as large as a corporate headquarters, there still needs to be full representation from every site that will be going live in the first phase of the project. Sometimes a smaller site can become the "forgotten stepchild" of the project, and resources are only brought in at the beginning of testing. This can result in feelings of mistrust by the remote team and the sense of not having a say in project/business decisions.
  • Will the project team members be 100% dedicated to the project?This question depends primarily on two aspects of the organization. First, what is the financial capability of the organization? Can the organization backfill the positions of a project team member's daily business role? Second, what is the availability of the resources? Can the organization maintain the business without them while they are solely working on the ERP project? If the team will not be 100% dedicated, discuss and agree on expectations with management. Know that the team will not only be responsible for their regular day job, but will also be tasked with a large project that will consume up to 100% of their time as well. For some team members, this can be too much and the workload can become unbearable. Another factor to consider is the fact that team members who are not 100% dedicated, will feel a natural responsibility to their job, and will gravitate back to their daily routine and not necessarily the project.
  • Will your organization have a Project Manager on staff?During these large projects, it is imperative that you assign a Project Manager. This is someone that the team will look to for direction and guidance. Is there already a well-seasoned ERP Project Manager on staff? If not, it is highly suggested to recruit this position. Projects can fall behind of there is a lack of leadership coming from the Project Team. It's critical that a Project Manager be assigned to keep the team on track, facilitate communications, and verify that action items, issues, and decisions are completed on time, and by the right people.
  • From a technical perspective, what does your project require?Business Analysts? Database Administrators? Developers? Report Writers? It is crucial that these roles are decided upon and either outsourced or retained in-house.
    Be sure to assign specific data sets to specific team members: Item Master, Customer Master, Vendor Master, etc.

Selecting the Project Team

Now that you have gone through the planning process, it is now time to select the team members tasked with transforming your business processes and a solution that takes your organization to new heights. The following points outline the qualities each team member should possess to ensure strong team cohesion.

  • For every functional area that will be impacted by the project, a Subject Matter Expert (SME) should be selected. This resource will have a deep understanding of their departmental business processes and requirements. This is critical for the business process design work that is to come. They will have complete responsibility for the delivered project within their functional area as well as ultimate decision making for their area of responsibility. This expectation must be set at the very beginning of the project.
  • Look for an "out of the box" thinker that will be able to redesign business processes and is thoroughly versed in the requirements of the organization.
  • Select Change Leaders that aren't afraid to step out of their comfort zone. This will give the organization a better chance of designing the best solution.
  • Be wary of those that are resistant to change or have tendency to not be fully engaged in offering solutions or ideas that will benefit the company.
  • Stay focused on those who can see the project through. There will be deadlines to meet and this will require more than an eight-hour day, especially if they are not 100% dedicated to the project. It is rare for a project to not require after hours or weekend work. Each team member should have a strong work ethic.
  • Emotional fortitude will be a strong quality to possess. These large projects can be very stressful on the project team and the ability to handle conflict is necessary. There will be competing agendas and naturally, there will be disagreements on how best to move forward through all the obstacles these projects present.
  • Look for resources that are team players – people that can bounce ideas off others and make decisions quickly.
  • Finally, only select those that have complete respect for all of their colleagues. This will be crucial in teamwork facilitation and will reduce conflict. This team will be together for a long time and mutual respect will be required throughout the entire project.

Motivating your Team

So your project team is selected and the members are assigned to their specific roles, now what? If you are like many organizations, not everyone on the team will know each other. To foster a team-winning environment, creating the motivation to tackle all the project hurdles is a must. Since stress, anxiety, and intense workloads are common for these kind of projects, inserting fun activities to motivate your team will help them retain their resilience. Below are some tips for keeping your new ERP Project Team motivated.

  • Prior to the start of formal project activities, a team building activity is highly recommended. Preferably, offsite as this will allow the team to get to know each other in a fun and non-intrusive activity. Team members will learn each other's personality styles and problem solving skills. Numerous organizations offer team-building exercises that you can search for on the internet.
  • Hold a contest within the team to name the project. Have the team vote on the names and award the winner a prize.
  • Along with the name of the project, develop a logo that fits the name. Purchase t-shirts the team can wear for important milestone dates.
  • Reward the hard work of the team with team lunches, team dinners, etc.
  • A local night on the town, maybe a ball game, or an activity that will allow the team to let off some stress is always a great way of showing appreciation.
  • Reward individual team members for going above and beyond their project responsibilities or putting in additional effort.
  • Be respectful of their time; clearly communicate far in advance the dates and times that the project team will be working together.
  • Granting additional PTO or vacation days to the project team to use after Go Live is another incentive to consider.

We hope this blog has given you some ideas and pointers to consider when selecting your ERP Project Team as you embark on your organization's ERP implementation. If you're looking to implement an ERP solution, PowerObjects can help! Learn more here.

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

By Kieran Patel

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