In many cases when ERP projects are initiated, clients may have a few strategic or market imperatives that drive the implementation decision. In these situations, it becomes crucial that projects are delivered on time, so that the clients can gain the full advantage they expected.
In some unfortunate cases though, the adherence to the timeline can actually create a disadvantage rather than an advantage. In one project, not so long ago, during the initial phases the deadline was set to be September. However, after completing the process and requirements workshops, we realised that the scope of the work was considerably greater than initially described and the project needed to be re-initiated and renegotiated in terms of its timeline.
We went back to the client and suggested that the September deadline wasn’t realistic anymore given the extent of the scope changes. It was a difficult negotiation and at the end of it, the client didn’t agree to change the project deadline.
What followed was the months of high-stress work; a doubling of team resources; and a shortening of many project phases in order to achieve the deadline. We went live as planned but incurred a heavy cost in the form of many operational issues after go-live. It took three to four months to stabilise the implementation and double that amount of time to get user buy-in within the firm.
During our Post Implementation Review meeting with the client, they stated that it would have been better if we hadn’t said Yes to their requests. This was very interesting feedback; as external advisors to our clients, our primary role is to inform our clients about all aspects of the project and make recommendations, but beyond that we rely on our clients to make the best choice they can taking all the factors into account.
The question still remains – how do we convince our clients to delay their project when the cost of saying Yes is too high?
Please leave your comments about this vexed problem.