Jun 22, 2010

The Three Faces (Phases) of an ERP Project Team

In any ERP implementation, the implementation team passes thru three phases.

The first phase is what I would call the 'Acquaintance Phase'. This phase often occurs at the initial phase of the project where the implementation team do not have an awareness of the enormity or magnitude of the task at hand. In this phase there is a lot of getting to know each other, friendship and general amiability.

In the second phase, which I call the aggression phase, the team starts feeling the enormity of the task at hand and their perceived lack of knowledge on how to handle many of the scenarios. In this phase, there will be a lot of data issues, lots of wrong process mapping and solutioning, lots of 'It is not my job's and 'I won't do it's. There will be blaming, lots of it. The implementation team will blame the customer, the customer will blame the implementer, everyone will blame the project manager.....

And finally, the dust settles, In the third phase, called the 'Mutual Respect' phase, everyone in the team understands each others well. They team is aware of its strengths and weaknesses and everyone is focussed on a common goal. In this phase, normally there is no difference between the customer team and the consulting team, they work as one.

My argument is that almost all the projects go through these three different phases. However, the most useful phase for the project is the 'Aggression Phase' because that is the phase where the issues gets resolved and project moves forward.

Knowing that all the projects will go thru these phases, what is the lesson learned? The lesson is that the earlier the team reaches the 'Aggression Phase', the better it is for the project. As a project manager, it may be a good idea to generate aggression in the team at an earlier date. However it has to be clearly understood that the aggression should not become personal. The aggression in the project, if focussed on the issues at hand will lead to a high quality project.

Much like the gold becomes purer on heating and beating.....

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