How to Build a Great ERP Implementation Team

To cite “assembling the right team” as a key ERP success factor seems as obvious as saying the key to growing your business is to increase your revenue, or the key to wealth accumulation is to earn more than you spend. Yet every ERP project manager will have to fight – and usually compromise – for access to the right talent.

The talent an organization assigns to its ERP implementation team demonstrates to a large degree its commitment to, and comprehension of, long term organization health. Five years after the implementation of a mediocre ERP system, it is of no value to regret assigning mediocre talent to the effort. A talented ERP implementation team sees the big picture more completely, appreciates the implications of the strategic plan for ERP better, evaluates decisions not only in terms of what is today, but what is likely to become tomorrow, and has the professional capital and organizational respect to sell difficult, but necessary process changes.

What Makes a Great Team Member?

So what are some of the indicators of good talent when evaluating individuals for participation in an ERP implementation team? First, if possible, individuals should be seen as promotable. People who are promotable have less allegiance to the status quo, and will later populate the organization’s higher ranks with fundamental understanding of how the business processes were designed. Secondly, an individual who has high personal intelligence is nice, but an individual who has high team intelligence is a necessity. Being personally smart has nothing to do with – and can occasionally interfere with – being team smart. Being team smart means you recognize the point of consensus, and do not belabor a conversation beyond that point; it means that you do not steer conversations in interesting, but unimportant directions; it means that the quality of a decision is evaluated solely on its effect to the organization; it means that whatever personal ego you have is left at home where you can conveniently pick it up after work. A third attribute is depth of understanding. Talented people not only understand what is required, they understand why it is required, and this comprehension is incredibly valuable when it comes to determining what business practices are subject to change and which are not. And finally, the most intangible, is the ability to listen to multiple points of view, and assimilate the best parts of all into a solution which is better than any.

If you assemble a strong team, everything about the ERP project goes better. Change management is more effective because the team members have credibility. Testing goes better because the test scenarios are chosen wisely, and executed intelligently. Fewer milestones are missed, as ERP team members are used to accepting additional responsibility, and pitch in to help wherever needed.

There are many factors that influence the success of an ERP implementation, and team talent is one of the biggest. A highly talented team alone does not ensure that your ERP implementation will be world-class, but mediocre talent alone will ensure that you have a mediocre implementation.

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Richard Barker

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Richard Barker

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