Danger! Slow Project Ahead.

One of the most difficult things to do when planning an Enterprise System implementation project is getting the “speed” just right. It’s a little bit like driving a car – too fast and you could end up off the road, never reaching your destination; Too slow and you become distracted and cause others to become frustrated.

Let’s look at the scenario where the project is planned over a period that is too long. This is not usually because everyone is taking their time, labouring over every task and taking things nice and easy, it is usually because the organisation cannot release sufficient resources to the project to go about it at anything other than a slow pace.  But be warned that this approach can cause significant issues with your implementation.

Effort is increased. When a project team member, including the project manager, can only dedicate time once a week (or less), every time they try to pick up where they left off, they have to re-familiarise themselves with the tasks – they will experience the “now where was I?” moment. Over the course of the project, this eats up valuable time, not just for the project but for the organisation as a whole. If you have deployed the right team for your implementation (see this article), you really cannot afford those “where was I?” moments – these valuable company resources need to add value at every opportunity.

Attrition will hit you. This is a simple one – staff leave, and the longer your project takes, the higher the staff turnover number will be. This doesn’t just refer to your project team members, any loss of experienced, valuable staff will impact the entire organisation and that will affect your project. You may even lose team members back into operations to fill a void.

You will have to upgrade before you even manage to go live. When your project takes too long, your version of the system will be out of date before you go live. You obviously don’t want that (and won’t be able to have it if you are implementing SaaS) and so your build and release management becomes a nightmare, requiring extra project resource to manage. You will also find that as new releases are made available to the team, they are having to do regression testing on functionality they have already signed off on.

You may go out of fashion. When Enterprise System projects start, there is usually a bit of fanfare and your project will be the hot topic in the organisation; everyone is interested. But that interest wanes over time and you may well find that people have moved on. Your sponsor’s head may have been turned by the new project in town and that can spell disaster for your project (see this article). You need things to move at a pace where people are seeing results and stay interested and engaged. Without that, your change management effort will be a serious uphill struggle.

The danger of procrastination looms large. When deadlines seem way off on the horizon, we lose the sense of urgency to get things done. This is particularly dangerous where a team member is allocated to multiple roles in the organisation – operations will ALWAYS take priority and this is especially true when it appears that you have eons to catch up on your project tasks.

Getting the pace right is not an easy task with multiple factors to be taken into consideration. If your organisation is starting to plan a project, be careful what you wish for – a nice long period to achieve your goals isn’t as good as it sounds!

Whether you are starting to plan your project or if you feel your project has lost momentum and needs a boost, get in touch and see how Clarion can help.