Stakeholders can make or break a project and here at SubZero, having worked on numerous ERP implementation projects and upgrades, we recognise that their influence and effect cannot be underestimated.
The basic definition of a stakeholder is the person with responsibility for delivering, or the custodian and trustee of an outcome, or perhaps most accurate in a project capacity, is “those persons with a legitimate interest in a given situation, action, enterprise or project”. Therefore, by definition, stakeholders should help support and protect your ERP project, whether that be an initial implementation or an upgrade or customisation.
However, we have seen time and again that project teams get it wrong and identify the wrong individuals or they are shoe-horned into taking responsibility and this can lead to catastrophic results in project delivery.
Stakeholders should be included and involved so that they feel morally obliged and personally committed to supporting the project and protecting the investment. In an ideal world, you want to have them on side so that they help fight any battles that may come your way.
A useful process is to have coverage across these three areas:
- Primary Team Stakeholders – these are the visible and overt members of the team, they are the main decision-makers within the program and usually takes the form of the IT Manager or CIO
- Secondary Team Stakeholders – these are your back-stop or those to whom you turn for a sanity check and validation and are most likely to be Line-of-Business specific, such as a Financial Director or Manufacturing Director
- Tertiary Stakeholders – this final group are often forgotten or omitted but they can play a vital role even though they may not be directly involved in the immediate project, but they will be affected further down the line and so need to be “on-side”. These are more likely to be “Head of Department” roles such as Sales Directors or Logistics Directors
All stakeholders need to be senior members of the team; they need to be included and involved and communication to and between these members is vital. Some useful check points to watch out for when lining up your project stakeholders;
- Approachable and open-minded nature – ERP projects will have their ups and downs, so you need to be able to discuss matters honestly and openly with the stakeholders without having to couch the truth or hold back on the concerns. Regular briefings (either in person or online) need to be scheduled so there are no long gaps between communications that may result in big surprises.
- Transparency – any stakeholder needs to share details of anywhere they hold a vested interest and to ensure that decisions will not be unduly influenced.
- Time and understanding – the size and complexity of a project will dictate the time needed from any stakeholder, but this needs to be clearly stated at the outset so that the individual has scheduled the necessary time for involvement particularly if they need to acquire a greater depth of knowledge and so they need to be ready and prepared to dedicate enough time.
- Interest and enthusiasm – these are a truly valuable assets which must not be undervalued. Without the willingness to be involved and engagement in the project and its deliverables, the stakeholder is unlikely to be useful
- Commitment – this is probably the most important element. The stakeholder must not only commit to the length of the project, (as we all know some ERP projects can take years) but must be willing to commit for the duration, even if another opportunity presents itself.
We have always found that using a project assurance consultant, or a senior decision maker from another area of the business can help keep the project on track and on budget.
At SubZero we ensure you have the right experience and expertise from our professional consultants. Our project teams can include business process consultants, project managers and product specialists for all Infor ERP such as LX, BPCS (all versions) and Baan (including Triton, Baan IV and Baan 5.0) up to the latest feature pack versions of Infor LN/LX 10.x as well as Infor’s collaboration tools such as Workspace, ION & Ming.le
Also, our project consultants bring a wide range of methodologies from Prince2, Six Sigma, Channel Management, Agile, Lean, Waterfall and even the vendor implementation methodologies such as Microsoft Sure Step and ASAP methodology from SAP.
For more information on how we can help with project consultants please message me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-heilbron/
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