ERP Project Manager Diary: Change Management

Today we had a long review with our ERP change management team. I think it went really well. I mean, there are some challenges ahead of us, but then, if there weren’t, they wouldn’t really need us, would they?

I guess the biggest surprise was from the initial readiness survey. The objective was to capture initial beliefs, perceptions, and feelings about ERP and the business organization. By measuring these same things over time, we can be reasonably quantitative in assessing how effective our ERP change management efforts are.

It wasn’t totally bad; there some bright spots, I think. In the worrisome category: 82% of the organization said they were “unsure” or “very unsure” of the value of ERP. 37% of the organization said they were “confident” or “very confident” in top leadership. 29% said that they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their jobs. 42% said they were “confident” or “very confident” about the future.

The positive things I think we can build on are: 86% of the respondents said they were “secure” or “very secure” in their jobs. 79% considered their job to have “high impact” or “very high impact” in the financial performance of the organization. 92% of the participants felt like they are rated in the top 10% of performers.

A Novelty Hook

So, even though people don’t much like what they do, they believe they can continue doing it for a long time to come. And though leadership is suspect, they themselves are all high performers with high impact. Obviously, we need to sell the value of ERP very diligently.

We talked about the best way to reach people with a steady – but not obnoxious – flow of ERP messages. Frequent e-mailings was judged to be too aggressive and invasive, and everyone felt a web site was too passive. We discussed hiring someone to walk around the halls with a sandwich sign, thinking that perhaps novelty would be a good hook for interest, but in the end rejected that idea, too. For the time being, we are just going to have a mixture of media, including meetings, emails, and bulletin board flyers.

All of the ERP consultants tell me that no matter how good the ERP change management is, without grassroots support from the users, the effort will fail. Well, today’s meeting indicates exactly what the size of the opportunity to obtain that support is going to be.

Oddly enough, I dreamt about ERP again last night. I was in a blueprinting session, and the team was about to make a really bad decision, but no matter how loudly I tried to talk, the only thing that came out of my mouth was bird feathers. I wonder if dreaming about ERP is going to become routine….

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