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The Resource Group

Why Should I Pay for Project Management? That’s Just “Overhead”.


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by Mike Hancock, The Resource Group

Having been involved with “tier 2” ERP systems for over twenty-five years, I have witnessed first-hand the reasons for / benefits of project management for ERP implementation projects.   Early in my career, I had the unfortunate experience of arriving at a client’s place of business with a box of software and manuals under my arm ready to begin installation and implementation, with no prior planning whatsoever. Having seen what a disaster that approach often is, I have become a strong advocate for and practitioner of project management methodology for ERP system implementations.  I have also found a home with a Dynamics GP Value Added Reseller (VAR) who recognizes the substantial benefits of this approach, both to its clients and its own continued success in a very competitive marketplace. 

We’ve often found that first-time buyers of ERP systems do not want to make the investment for services around project management because it is perceived as “overhead.”  However, it is one of the most critical factors for success of your project.   

What key components would your ERP project be missing without Project Management?
Project Managers are responsible for controlling the entire project to make sure it stays on track and on budget.  An effective and efficient project manager will typically be responsible for the following activities to help ensure project success and the expected return on investment: 

  • Create and maintain a time-phased project plan, including project phases, tasks and milestones.
  • Assign project tasks to resources, and coordinate with the client to identify their required resources and availabilities. Coordinate scheduling of project team members for all project tasks.
  • Create and communicate project status reports to client’s project manager and management.
  • Monitor project services billings and provide budget‐to‐actual reports on a timely basis during the course of the project.
  • Control scope creep and budget creep through a formal change order process.
  • Coordinate and facilitate meetings or phone conferences when needed.
  • Track issues as they arise and ensure they are resolved in a timely manner.
  • Continually monitor the progress of tasks, goals and objectives, and ensure quality and timeliness for the services provided.
  • Ensure customer acceptance for delivered services and work products.
  • Manage project closure and, at the proper time, transition the client to the on‐going support team.

Not all VAR’s and, certainly not all potential clients, recognize the benefits of project managed implementation engagements and why these services add value.   I believe they ignore, or choose not to invest in, these services at the risk of unsuccessful, over budget, untimely and/or ineffective implementations and wasted resources (time / money).  My advice is to make sure that your VAR believes in the value of and offers project management to help ensure that your company receives full value from the investment in a new ERP system.

by Mike Hancock, The Resource Group – Seattle, Washington Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner

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