Identifying Project Staff

Once you have thought through the project organization, done the pre-planning, and gone over planning details; the next step is to select those within your organization best suited to help with the business management system implementation.

Right now, you will be selecting people to fill critical roles for your project.  We are providing estimated time commitments for the participants.  If a person is playing two roles, add the time together.  If it exceeds 100%, you are in trouble.  If a person is 50% committed to the project, he or she will have 20 hours per week left to do their normal tasks.  This can be a significant burden, so be prepared to deal with overtime, delay of regular work and possible temporary workers.

You must carefully consider each individual’s workload and aptitude for a specific role prior to assigning it.  Assigning a role to someone who doesn’t have time to meet the projects requirements is just as bad as assigning the role to someone who doesn’t understand the requirements, doesn’t have the skills or doesn’t have the aptitude.  The work groups who take this project from inception to go-live are critical to the success of the project.  You cannot overestimate the critical nature of these roles.

Make sure that your team and staff knows that these roles carry responsibility that may be outside their normal job authority.  For example, you may select a Customer Service person as the Project Manager.  They may be required to set requirements for their own boss.  Obviously, that can cause a problem.  Just make sure that you are setting the right guidelines and it can work. 

Executive Sponsor (Time Commitment <5%)

The executive sponsor supports the Project Manager in ensuring that the direction of the project is in line with the strategic objectives of the company.  The Executive Sponsor will do two key things in this project.  First, provide guidance/support/outside viewpoint as needed by the Project Manager.  Second, strengthen corporate endorsement of the project.  The key responsibilities for the Executive Sponsor are:

  • Review periodic project status updates
  • Facilitate the necessary environment for change
  • Provide additional corporate authorization for project changes

Internal Project Manager (Time Commitment 35%)

Your Internal Project Manager will work closely with the VAR’s Project Manager to monitor and control both the timeline and workload assignment during the project.  This person must be detail oriented and have good communication skills.  This person must also be committed to the success of the project.  The key responsibilities are to:

  • Approve the project budget & plan
  • Define expectations and success indicators
  • Make policy decisions
  • Oversee the entire project
  • Ensure deadlines are met
  • Ensure project is held to scope
  • Maintain communication lines with project team
  • Ensure Executive Sponsor is kept up to speed
  • Provide sign-off on milestones/deliverables
  • Actively participate throughout all phases of the project
  • Ensure team members are available for analysis & design workshops, system set-up, training and testing
  • Ensure all data files are available for migration to the new system
  • Ensure that the required infrastructure is in place
  • Assist in resolving day to day issues related to the project
  • Manage issues and issue resolution during the project.

Pilot Testers/Super Users (Time Commitment 10 to 15% throughout the project, 50 – 65% time commitment during key testing periods and final end-user training)  

Pilot Testers or Super Users test the procedures and implementation methods that the VAR and your team develop.  This is the primary method for determining problems before Go-live.  These people must test every aspect of the solution as implemented, using real data.  Responsibilities are:

  • Represent a specific department or responsibility set
  • Perform testing throughout the project
  • Provide details regarding department requirements/needs (involving end-users and Subject Matter Experts as needed to fully develop picture)
  • Test and validate that preliminary configuration will meet department requirements/needs
  • End-user training assistance
  • First level support following Go-Live system; “that’s why we are rolling out this Pilot Project.  We have selected you because you are important to the success of the project; you have the right skills, aptitude and desire.”

Subject Matter Experts (Time Commitment <5%)

These people are the ones “in the know”, the ones everyone says, “Ask …”.  They may or may not be involved in Pilot Testing, but they understand current processes, current results and customer or vendor expectations.  Their input is critical to developing a complete solution.  Responsibilities are:

  • To consult or lend expertise as needed – typically in the design/configuration & testing stage of the project
  • To carry excitement and message back to fellow end-users

End Users (Time Commitment <5% throughout the project, 25%-50% time commitment during end-user training.)

These people are anyone else in the organization who is not involved above, but use (or will use) the system.  They may or may not be involved in weekly updates, but their buy-in to the project is critical.  Typically, the Subject Matter Experts carry the message back to their fellow workers to develop excitement and buy-in.

  • Limited or no project involvement – consulted, as needed,
  • Receive training and practice training immediately prior to go-live date

The individuals who make up your implementation team are responsible for the success of your project.  If you have no Executive Sponsor, you will not have the political capital to get through tough challenges when you need to someone to backup an unpopular decision or need to make a change in scope. Without a Project Manager, your project will flounder over small details that turn into big problems.  Your testers and Subject Matter Experts provide the myriad technical details that make your business successful.  A person’s responsibilities and authority during the implementation may be different from their normal responsibilities.

Once the project staff has been identified, it’s time for Kick Off!

For a complete eBook containing all of the steps of an ERP Implementation from our blog, click below to download our Project Success: How to Implement an ERP System below, compliments of BASM!