So you’ve got your executive to agree to the new ERP / CRM project, you’ve signed the Statement of Work (SOW) and everyone’s eager to get started.
Here’s a checklist of “to dos” / “to think abouts”:
- If you haven’t already, ask your consulting partner to provide you with an idea of how much time your team will be needed on the project, when those resources will be needed, and any advanced skills that will be useful. Please read a previous post HERE for more details.
- Decide who will be your project manager (PM). Your consulting partner will have a PM, but they will not be responsible for managing the day to day activities of your team. Your PM doesn’t have to understand all the business requirements, or even have been a PM before, but they must have the respect of the other people on the team, and the ability to keep track of a task list and a schedule.
- Make sure you’re 100% clear on what is “in scope” – i.e. what the consulting partner will be delivering and what they will not be delivering. If you didn’t carefully read through the SOW before you signed it, make sure you do it before the project starts! Your consulting partner will have developed a budget based on your discussions during the sales cycle. Verify that your requirements are covered (albeit at a high level) in the SOW and that all assumptions are correct. If you don’t understand something, or technical jargon has been used that you’re not familiar with, ask.
- Start thinking ahead of the data that will be needed for the project and anything you can do ahead of time to clean it up. If you’re implementing a new ERP system, now’s an excellent time to part ways with old, unused data. Do you have hundreds of customers and contacts that you haven’t done business with for years? Is data formatted well? For example do all vendor records have a two-character province code, or does your province list look like this: BC, B.C. , BC. , British Columbia , Britsh Columbia
- Start thinking ahead to the kind of training that your staff will need. Are there several physical locations? Will formal classroom training be needed (with training materials)? Will your core project team members be comfortable providing this training? Ask your consulting partner what has been covered in the budget; typically the assumption is that the consultants will train the core project team during the project, but you will be responsible for training your end users.
- Spend some time with your core team to brain storm any dependencies or risks. Will the project be ongoing during your busy season? Are there any other projects that need to complete before this one can start? Are there any groups in the organization that are not as eager to start using new software as others? No matter how much some users hate your old system, they will hate the new one more, simply because it is different.
- Reach out to your peer groups inside and outside your company to talk to others who have done this before. Sure you’ll hear some horror stories, but you can pick up lots of tips and tricks “from the trenches”. There are also lots of great on-line resources to start reading, such as industry blogs and support groups (e.g. NAVUG, CRMUG), and make sure you get access to Microsoft’s Customer Source.