ERP is a multifaceted, cross-functional application that typically affects most if not all of a company. An ERP implementation will also affect external organizations. With such a widespread effect, getting management engaged is crucial to insuring success with an ERP implementation.
When to engage:
Engagement begins at the onset when you are still in concept stage. This is because you need to get funding and resources. It will continue throughout the project to provide schedule and status; discuss risks and issues; and project scope and change management.
Who to engage:
There should be an executive sponsor. This is typically the key executive from the organization that will be most affected. If it is just a finance implementation, then typically this would be your company controller. If the implementation include supply chain, then it would be your operations VP. Along with an executive sponsor, an oversight or steering committee should also be formed. This committee should include a department head or business process owner from each area being implemented. For a supply chain implementation, an each owner from sales administration, procurement, manufacturing, warehouse, and finance and accounting makes a good committee.
How to engage:
The length of your project and the comfort level and style of your oversight committee will gauge how often you should meet. If the project is a year or longer, then generally monthly is adequate. If the project is shorter, then bi-weekly or even weekly communication is desired.
Communication to management should be done in a summary / high level method. Outlining the project in time phases or milestones is a good approach for status. When communicating risks or issues, follow it with a contingency plan or proposed solution. If you need something from management, be it budget, resources, or a decision – clearly state the need, the reason, and the impact!
A one page representation of the project is a great way to communicate the project. A stoplight to show the overall status of the project, a timeline, brief quick glance to show the health of the project, and highlight of key issues you want to bring to their attention.
Below is a template that can be used for presentation or even sending out as an emailed status!
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