You made your selection of the software package and now the work begins. These 5 “key” points are all post software selection. You already did your due diligence in selecting the software and the implementation partner. In order to benefit from your software purchase, you must now successfully implement the software.
A successful implementation can only happen if top management is behind the decision to purchase or upgrade your software. Management needs to be present at the project kick-off and stress to all of the project members that they are behind the project 100%. Without this buy-in the project will not stay on task and dates will not be met.
Hopefully, your implementation partner has a standard project plan that has been successfully used in the past. The project plan is not owned by the implementation partner but instead, it is owned by all team members. The entire team should be reviewing it and making sure the project is on target and the milestone dates are met. If you do not have dates and milestones the project will never complete or complete on time. The dates established should be realistic, otherwise, they will continually be moving.
Your implementation partner should be recommending periodic project meetings. The frequency often depends on the size of the company, number of users, and areas that are being implemented. A good rule of thumb is to schedule a short meeting once a week on a regular day and time. Keep the meetings on task and avoid “scope creep”. Often additional tasks come up that were not planned. Keep track of these and consider implementing these additional items at a later date so your original project milestone dates are not changed.
Having run thousands of projects ranging from small modifications or reports to ERP package implementations a common question we are asked is how long is it going to take to implement? This of course usually requires a discussion as the implementation partner is not the only resource on the project. The client has some number of personnel that they have on the project too and rarely do I hear from a client that management tells them “Don’t worry about the normal job you just have to concentrate on the implementation”. The takeaway here is that you must schedule a time to work on the implementation. If you do not schedule the time the milestone dates are going to be missed and your go-live date will keep moving.
When planning your dates be sure to look at all holidays and vacations as these can have a huge impact on the total duration of the project.
Again your partner should be working with you on recommended training for each user. There will most likely be an online video training, printed and electronic documents, hands-on training from the partner, online help, and of course, some of your own users will be training others in your company. Do not try to short cut the training. Nothing like the stress of a go live when users have not been properly trained and sometimes this is the direct result of time allocation.