By Melanie Mondon.

Last week I introduced the challenges of implementing ERP systems – underestimating the complexity of requirements and business processes, the likelihood of scope creep, and the impact on delivery dates and cost.

At the start of a project, consultants meet with business representatives and discuss the overarching principles to reach agreement around what can be delivered, when, and at what cost. Of course this is necessary for both parties to decide whether a partnership can be forged, whether work can continue, or even whether a different implementation partner needs to be sought.

With the detailed process of workshops and system design documentation following some time after the initial agreement is made, it’s no surprise that many details arise after the fact. Even in the most detailed requirements gathering process there will inevitably be pieces missed – maybe not entire processes but definitely the lower volume complex scenarios that are not often used. They tend to fly under the radar but will take up a disproportionate amount of time to manage.

Perhaps the answer is to build scope into the project for creep to occur. There are statistics that estimate that only 30 – 40% of large scale IT projects are delivered on time and within budget. If there’s a 60 – 70 % chance that something will occur then you should plan for it…right? Surprisingly, none of the projects I’ve worked on have considered this a factor. If I were to be completely honest about the reasons I think are behind the cost creep, the following would be my top picks:

  • Underestimating complexity
  • Inadaquate Resourcing
  • Not Involving the Relevant People
  • Scaling Down from a Complex System to a Simpler One

Next week I’ll look at these in detail and the importance of comparing “apples with apples” when you look at the experiences of other companies that have enjoyed successful implementations. I’ll also tell you how Acmeda fared.

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