ERP Project Manager Diary: The End of ERP Blueprinting

Day 40 - Dear Diary, ERP Blueprinting is almost over. Marla brought up in our team lead meeting today that we should plan an outing to celebrate the end of blueprint. I’m a little uneasy; so far the sum total of what we have produced is a two hundred and sixty page notebook. As someone who has seen complex training manuals, standard operating procedures, ISO documentation, and policy manuals sit on a shelf and collect dust for years after the initial excitement of creation, I am admittedly cynical about the value of a four inch thick notebook that no one person could ever realistically comprehend. Marla brushed aside my reservations, saying it would be good for morale, good for team building, and will serve as a nice launching point for beginning work on configuring the system.

A Sirloin Roast in a Crowded Dog Kennel

I suppose it will fall on me ultimately to decide where we go. Suggestions range from taking a day off to go to an amusement park to having a group dinner at a medieval banquet hall. I shudder to think about asking the CFO if we could take a day off and spend a couple of grand at an amusement park because we created a notebook, but Marla says I’m not thinking about it right. I asked her if we did an all-day event if she would bill me for a full day of her consulting team’s time, and she said I wasn’t thinking about that right either.

So apparently, I’m not thinking about a lot of things right, but I think it’s partially because I’m beginning to understand how massive this thing is. When we started ERP blueprinting, I’d set a private objective for myself to thoroughly understand the detailed design and operation of every module, and not only did I fail at that, I couldn’t claim thorough understanding on any of the modules. I will confess to only you, Diary, that I am feeling a bit humbled. If you would have asked me eight weeks ago how much I knew about the company, I would have answered “pretty much everything worth knowing”. Since then, after being exposed to legal entities, segregation of duties, financial audits, master data, asset management, available to promise, and hazardous material handling, I realize that all I really knew about was operations.

We have another steering committee meeting coming up. I need to work with Marla, and involve her in the presentation preparation this time, so as not to be surprised by anything, although it is clear that we do approach problems from a different perspective. I don’t know of anything real controversial to present, so hopefully it will just be a short update, and back to work. However, if ERP blueprinting has taught me anything, it is that whenever I expect a meeting to be a rubber stamp approval of a presentation recommendation, I can pretty much expect the effect to be similar to dropping a sirloin roast into the middle of a crowded dog kennel.

Otherwise, things are going well!

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