Replacing your organization’s financial human resource, procurement, or any other mission-critical system with a new application can cause serious disruption to your organization, especially if you are an education or public sector organization. To mitigate the risks and get the full benefits of a new Cloud-based ERP system, including improved data security, reporting and planning and more streamlined and standardized business processes it’s critical to acquire a dedicated and experienced project management professional. In my last article The #1 Mistake Educators and Public Sector Organizations Make When Implementing a New ERP System, I described the reasons why leaders don’t enlist the help of experienced Project Managers and the fallacies behind these reasons. In this article I explain what a professional Project Manager does and why this person is key to your success.
Your Project Manager’s ultimate responsibility is to ensure the project’s success. They do this by managing three major components of the project: scope, schedule, and cost. A professional Project Manager:
- Ensures project buy-in. A professional Project Manager ensures that key stakeholders and the project team understand the organization’s reasons for the project and are bought-in to the vision.
- Provides direction to the project team. A Project Manager sequences and prioritizes activities and guides the project team to make sure the project stays on budget and on schedule.
- Develops and implements a communication plan. The Project Manager is responsible for developing a communication plan to ensure everyone understands where the project is, what they should be doing and when they should be doing it. Continuous communication at all levels of the organization is the single most important component for the success of a project.
- Controls the scope of the project. With any project many stakeholders want to make changes to enhance the final product. These changes add cost and time. A Project Manager has the knowledge and skills to filter through these new, requested project deliverables and ensure acceptance of only the most necessary changes. The Project Manager will then suggest a follow-on project to make the requested enhancements. In this way, the risk of the project scope becoming too large and unworkable is mitigated.
- Controls project costs. The Project Manager reviews and validates all charges against the project and carefully tracks the budget to ensure the project maintains fiscal viability. If spending trends are not on target, the Project Manager will alert the executive sponsor to the potential issue early when corrective action can be taken more easily. The Project Manager also manages procurement for the project to ensure goods and services are acquired only when needed.
- Manages the project schedule and resources. A Project Manager dedicates a significant percentage of time to managing the project schedule and scheduling resources’ time. This can be complicated because those people with critical knowledge and skills are busy working on other projects. Including key subject matter experts in the project exactly when they are needed takes careful planning and negotiation with the team members and their managers.
- Mitigates risk. The Project Manager must know what information to collect from stakeholders and the executive sponsor to ensure all potential project risks are identified. Creating plans to mitigate these risks and to take action if the risk become an actual issue helps to ensure the project’s success.
- Documents lessons learned. Once the project is closed, the Project Manager is responsible for closing out the project and documenting lessons learned, allowing the organization to be even more effective when completing its next major technology modernization project.
Eighty percent of successful projects are led by a dedicated and certified project manager (Wrike). The strong correlation between Project Manager certification, project management experience, and project success is certainly due to the training and skills acquired through years of experience of managing projects. When the success of a project is critical for you and your organization, and failure could mean serious financial or reputational loss or worse, acquiring a dedicated and experienced project manager is the best choice to achieve success.
Worldgate is dedicated to helping K-12, higher education and public sector organizations maximize the benefits of their technology modernization projects. Our experienced Project Managers are ready to help you do what’s needed to ensure your ERP implementation is a success.