ERP Project Manager Diary: The Executive Committee

Day 18

We had our follow up meeting on base unit of measurement today, and it was not much more productive. I mean, there were a couple of positive notes. It was clear that a few of the people on the team had taken the time to think about the last meeting, and presented new ideas or new bits of reasoning in an effort to have a more productive conversation. And it also felt like the two sides of the argument were a little less rigid, and at least willing to listen to each other. However, after ninety minutes we were not close to consensus, with some insisting we should stick with English measurements, and the rest demanding metric. Marla recommended that we put this issue on the agenda for our upcoming executive committee meeting. She told me that this is the way impasses like this are usually resolved, and that it was actually a good thing to do it early. That way, the ERP implementation team would understand that if they couldn’t reach a decision, someone else - with a lot less knowledge- would.

I’m a little bit nervous about the executive committee meeting. The executive committee is our project’s governing board; it is comprised of the CFO, the VP of operations, the VP of purchasing, the VP of sales, the director of IT, and the human resources VP. It was originally on Marla’s project plan to meet with the executive committee weekly; we compromised to meet with them monthly, and the day after tomorrow is our first scheduled review.

I want to be able to hit the right level of communication with them. Most of them know who I am, but don’t know me well, so I need to get off to a good start. I want to show them that I understand the big picture, and that I won’t bother them with a lot of minutiae. I have no clue exactly how I am going to do that, but I assume it is going to involve a Power Point presentation with large bold fonts, and lots and lots of bright colors.

Lastly, we had one really good example of teamwork today. I wasn’t at the meeting, but a cross functional team got together and agreed on the difficult decision to never release a production order to manufacturing until a customer order is released from credit. In this way, we eliminate the risk that we would manufacture something that a customer ultimately could not pay for. Who knows? Maybe I intimidate the teams when I participate, and they feel free to talk more candidly when I am not around. I’ll have to think about that.

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E.R.Peterson

About the author…

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E.R.Peterson