How to Avoid the Oh-So-Dreaded ERP Scope Creep
02/04/2019 | Denver, CO
If you’ve ever attempted a kitchen renovation or backyard remodel you know the drill. “Here’s what we want. Here’s what we want to pay. And, this is when we want to finish.” But here we are – 3 months late and 30% over budget. Certainly, adding the sub-zero fridge, stamped concrete and outdoor bar didn’t help. But the neighbors showed of their new digs and the kids chimed in with their wish list. The heart wants what it wants.
Same is true for your ERP customer. Yes, the project starts off with what they want, how much they can pay and when they want it done. But then later, they finally talk to others in the organization and get an earful of must-haves and must-dos. Or they connect with colleagues in neighboring enterprises, get the scoop on the latest and greatest and return with more requirements. Enter the dreaded scope creep, aka “My Big, Fat, ERP Implementation.”
ERP is an enterprise-wide system so aim to involve at least one Subject Matter Expert (SME) from every functional area or department within your business. Each business is unique, but all have finance and sales. Others will include software development, production, supply chain, engineering, and perhaps external compliance experts. No matter the disparities in hierarchy and geography, connect and work together to distill the list of needs and functionalities. Engage them often to gather requirements, compile change impacts, solicit input, and ultimately reach agreement on strategic direction approach.
Managing scope creep is always a challenge so it’s critical that the project team pay careful attention to project goals and expectations from beginning to end. It takes a strong team to lead your ERP implementation to the finish line. Your team must always remain on the same page, continually documenting and communicating to ensure you stay on track to project objectives.
As changes and new requirements emerge, it’s so important that consultants and the enterprise team continually communicate on how these fit—or don’t—within the scope. Be clear about the impact those new requirements have on the timeline and budget. This may involve pushing executives to make tough decisions about what is go-live-critical or not. If budgets become an issue, prioritize the absolutes and items for the post-implementation stage.
Scope creep can spell the end of your client’s ERP implementation. Since requirements and organizational needs are easily lost across the ERP implementation lifecycle, an automated process is key. This is exactly why ThinkTank developed a dedicated ERP Deployment Automation Solution.