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ERP Project Monitoring

Before the ERP implementation starts the consultants and the company representatives will sit together and prepare a work plan. This plan details each and every activity that needs to be carried out and when they should be carried out. The consultants should lead the process of the work plan preparation, because they have the experience of implementing the same package in similar conditions.

The in-house team should point out the issues that are specific to the company and help the constants in creating a realistic work plan. The work plan forms the basis for project tracking and monitoring. The project plan contains numerous activities, the man-hours required to complete them and the resources need perform the tasks.

Usually the project plan is built using a project management package that permits one to focus on planned activities from various perspectives - the chronological sequence or timetable, specific activities and who is responsible for them. Preparing the project plan using such a tool helps in improving the quality of the plan and makes it easier for making changes and adjustments. Once the project is underway the plan can be updated on a regular basis and the planned vs actual reports can be produced in varying detail and in varying formats including graphical formats.

The one thing that should be kept in mind is that, irrespective of whether the plan is created manually or using a software package, all the parties involved - the executive committee, the vendor, the consultants and the in-house team - should be in agreement with the contents of the plan.

What should be the frequency of monitoring by the executive committee? It depends on the situation. If the company has really assigned its best personnel to do the job, then there will be a natural monitoring of the project's daily activities. The company professional assigned to serve as the project owner or sponsor is in an ideal position to evaluate how things are going.

Since the ERP implementation project runs into months, it is quite adequate that the executive committee meets once in a week or once in two weeks. Another way is to setup milestones in the project plan and to have a meeting when the milestone's planning completion date is over. But there are no hard and fast rules regarding how frequently the executive committee should meet. During the final stages of the project, when the system is being tested the committee might need to meet more frequently to discuss the various issues that could arise.

It is the task of the project management team to report to the executive committee and present the facts and figures. Since these meetings will be of a managerial nature, the project management team should prepare a presentation that describes the situation at a level of detail appropriate to the audience. Every technical topics can be considered and excessive use of jargon can be avoided. It is a good idea that the material used in the presentation should also serve to document in the status of the project till that date. This is important because, in order to track the progress at fugue meetings, it may become necessary to recall the issues presented in a previous meeting, so as to explain why the evolution of the work has taken a particular note.

So in an ERP implementation project, the work plan or the project plan is of paramount importance. Then the adherence to the plan, and constant monitoring and taking appropriate corrective actions before the project gets of out control will ensure the success of the project.