The Difference Between Project Success and Failure
We’ve provided project management leadership for hundreds of enterprise software projects and initiatives over the years. Because of this, we know that competent project managers coupled with a systematic and proven methodology are the key to a successful enterprise software implementation.
Conversely, inadequate project management practices or inexperienced resources are a proven root cause for the failed implementations we have seen and subsequently rescued.
Project management is an integrative endeavor, where every action, or failure to take action can affect your chances of success. The project manager assigned to your project should be experienced and have a portfolio of multiple projects like yours.
Additionally, your project manager should have a track record of leading successful business process improvement initiatives, enterprise software selection activities, enterprise software implementations and organizational change management projects that have referenceable customers and measurable results.
Your Enterprise Project Management Office
The establishment of an enterprise project management office (PMO) that reports directly to an executive steering committee is paramount for managing resources and the project plan. In addition to having an experienced project manager, the PMO should include multiple team members who are accountable for the project’s success.
It is important to differentiate Ultra’s ERP project management services from the software vendor’s. Ultra’s enterprise project management services do not displace the software vendor’s project manager, and the converse is also true.
The vendor project manager is responsible for scheduling and managing the vendor resources and specific software configuration activities necessary for a successful enterprise software implementation.
Ultra’s enterprise project management services are designed to support the entire scope of the project including:
- The quality of all deliverables and timeline
- Accountability of all resources, budget, and timeline
- Escalation of issues
- Proactive management of project risks that impact your business
Your Project Management Framework for Success
Ultra’s services range from business process improvement, technology alignment, and future state enablement through implementation of tools such as ERP software, CRM, MES or Lean. In each case, Ultra believes in a culture-first approach to the transformation process, and the project management plan is a central component that drives all streams of work.
Transformative implementations are managed via a best-in-class methodology. This transformation delivery process is built upon a stage/gate discipline intended to reduce program implementation risk, facilitate proactive identification of risk and orchestrate all work to one master work sequence.
The Ultra enterprise project management implementation approach:
- Goes beyond simply using a method — our tools and templates accelerate delivery
- Spans and integrates multiple disciplines, allowing us to approach the implementation from multiple perspectives and use the full breadth of Ultra’s capabilities
- Is scalable to allow for different types of projects, including an implementation with a single release, multiple releases or roll-outs, a business process transformation, a reimplementation, or an upgrade
- Provides a rich information repository that is continuously updated based on our implementation experiences. This repository is captured and shared with our clients as projects progress and all work products are available long after your project is completed
Project Management Process
During the business process improvement phase, Ultra will leverage all learnings from current state analysis, value assessment of opportunities, and future state evolution to lay the foundation for the project management plan for your overall business process transformation.
This plan will govern, manage and control your initiative through to implementation and further to transformation. Ultra’s perspective is that all transformation is not achieved at the point of implementation.
Instead, there are stages of transformation which begin during the creation of the future state, grow during detailed design, and come into focus over the course of your implementation.
Transformation Project Plan Deliverables
During business process improvement (BPI), the Transformation Project Plan is defined in the context of the following deliverables:
Implementation Project Charter
The implementation project charter includes critical information such as:
- Project Scope
- Project Plan
- Resources, etc.
Business Case for Change
The business case for change is put in place to confirm expectations by providing a collaborative understanding of business value-adds that can realistically be expected. This document also states investment targets and tangible benefits, also known as improvement assumptions driven from executive alignment that provide specific deliverables across all impacted business functions.
Lastly, the business case for change contains success metrics, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) both financial and non-financial, which will be used to ensure the value delivery plan is achieved and provides transparency to areas of underachievement.
The transformation roadmap is a sequenced map of all improvement initiatives typically spanning 3-5 years. This roadmap will guide the strategic planning process and ensure maximum leverage of the newly deployed technologies and achievement of the business transformation outlined in the Business Case for Change.
Implementation Management: The Pathway to Value Delivery
As the transformation project moves to the implementation phase, the Ultra framework leverages proven, best-in-class techniques to ensure delivery of the Business Case for Change. Success depends on a combination of high-performance program management, effective technology application, formal risk containment methodology, and a disciplined approach for management of the organizational readiness that will deliver the ownership needed for lasting results.
Implementation stages are framed in the following and a disciplined gate review framework is used to confirm readiness to proceed to the next stage.
In the “Initiate” phase of the ERP implementation, the following occurs:
- Define collaboration, communication, media, and cadence
- Confirm charter, scope, project plan, tools, and templates
- Define data ownership and data integrity management
- Clarify Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) roles, responsibilities, and escalation processes
- Confirm organizational change management and risk management strategies
- Conduct team briefing and service track expectations
There are six main items that are completed in the “Design” phase of an implementation project:
- Confirm future state business scenarios and requirements
- Align software capabilities to future state requirements
- Develop detailed processes & identify capability gaps
- Design and model business analytics and details
- Validate technology architecture & infrastructure
- Validate testing procedures & gap assessment criteria
To “Build” the implementation of a new enterprise system, the following needs to happen:
- Setup ERP system to blueprint design and confirm functionality
- Migrate/enter and validate required data & master files
- Close capability gaps & conduct initial tests
- Deploy devices and user security model for testing & training
- Perform functional & modular testing, assess & close gaps
- Perform progressive scenario tests (CRP), assess & close gaps
When deploying a new ERP system, these six steps need to happen:
- Conduct system load & performance tests, assess & close gaps
- Confirm process owner acceptance and security model
- Finalize production solution, procedures, & training materials
- Train users, confirm competencies & validate user access
- Secure “go/no-go” commitment for production launch
- Execute detailed launch sequence for production launch
During the last phase of implementation, “Production,” these final steps must be made:
- Confirm business productivity and system stability
- Conduct post-launch analysis and capture lessons learned
- Quantify business case value, Return on Investment (ROI) & payback analysis
- Complete project case study & review with stakeholders
- Secure commitment for the business transformation
- Promote a culture of continuous improvement results
The 9 Work Streams of Enterprise Project Management
During the implementation project, Ultra manages all tasks within nine distinct work streams so all elements come together effectively, within the budget, and in accordance with the timing and scope parameters set forth in the Implementation Charter. The scope of these work streams is summarized below.
- Program Management and Governance
This work stream manages executive team involvement, priority, escalations, and governance of the overall program and projects.
- Project Management & Team Leadership
This work stream is accountable for the efficient execution of project tasks, managed priorities, scheduling of resources, effective communication, budget management, timeliness, and quality of deliverables.
- Risk Management & Mitigation
We provide risk management discipline and tools throughout the implementation process to proactively identify, plan for, and mitigate risks every step of the way.
- Change Management & Organizational Development
Ultra maintains a constant focus on change dynamics to ensure everyone is appropriately prepared and has what they need to successfully meet the transformation expectations.
- Business Processes & Best Practice Consulting
Ultra manages the following activities:
- Future state business process design
- Software configuration activities
- User requirements definition
- Business process controls
- Functional testing
- Business continuity planning
Attention is given to the integration of industry best practices, onboarding and engagement of all resources to ensure a seamless flow toward project success.
- Managed Software Vendor Accountability
Ultra works for your best interest to ensure competent vendor resources and the associated services are within the agreed scope and per the statement of work agreements. We provide the experienced checks-and-balances to hold everyone accountable for achieving future state expectations and quality of deliverables.
- Information Technology Architecture Consulting
Ultra ensures technology service providers, including internal staff, are in alignment with clear accountability for a robust and secure system architecture.
- Quality Management & Continuous Improvement
Ultra’s proactive quality management activities will ensure deliverables are at a sufficient level of quality, detail, and readiness to achieve business objectives and expectations.
- Data Management & Accountability
Ultra manages all critical success factors of the data migration process, confirming data ownership responsibilities and driving best-in-class migration approach that will ensure data integrity and align key data milestones to the implementation process.
Benefits Realization and Business Transformation
Once initial implementation is realized, Ultra’s enterprise project management direction focuses on value delivery and transformation. These elements of our methodology are essential to ongoing value realization. Major components are outlined below.
Benefits realization is a focus on the validation of all transformation goals, analysis of achieved benefits, and definition of improvement priorities.
Building on the benefits realization plan, Ultra’s focus for business transformation turns to the creation of business release plans, launching projects to close gaps, and managing the organizational change process required to ensure value delivery.