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How to Properly Plan Time and Resources at the Start of an ERP Implementation

During a meeting with a prospective client yesterday, the discussion moved to ERP project schedules. The first phase of our client engagement is typically a Pre-implementation Analysis (PIA) which is essentially the analysis phase of your project.  This allows us to gather your requirements and perform a “gap/fit” against NAV, taking the unknowns away from the project up front. The main outcome of the PIA is the project plan which includes detailed scope, budget, and schedule

The schedule is initially based on our Catapult resourcing availability. It is then refined to take other factors into consideration such as:

  1. Hard dates (e.g. need to implement on year end to coincide with planned inventory counts, need to implement before busy season starts)
  2. Unknown dates (e.g. you’ve ordered the server, but the vendor won’t give you a ship date (and yes this really happens… yet another good reason to look to the cloud))
  3. Client resourcing

We always recommend clients estimate their resourcing on the project to be 2 to 3 times our work estimates.  For example, for a 400 hour / 3 month project, we would recommend you set aside at least 2 full time resources for the duration of the project. This seems like a lot of time, especially when we say that these should be your key people.

Why so much time and why your key people? During the project they will be in charge of:

  • Ensuring your business requirements are defined and conveyed to our analysts. Only your best and brightest resources understand your business well enough to make the right decisions on your behalf.
  • Testing any customizations to ensure they meet your requirements.
  • Testing NAV configuration to ensure it meets your requirements.
  • Gathering and managing the cleaning of all data to be imported into NAV (such as customer and vendor lists, opening GL balances).
  • Planning and carrying out all end user training. We recommend a “train the trainer” approach where we train project team members who then can own the training responsibilities.

So, as you start planning for your upcoming ERP project, think also of who will make up your project team and what you can do in advance to train up (or hire) resources to back fill during the project.

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Catapult Team

Talk to as many internal stakeholders as you possibly can, because the more input you have about what you really need, the better chance you have of a successful implementation.

Blair Hurlbut, VP - ERP Solutions