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Avoid scope creep from affecting an ERP implementation

4/25/2012 at 10:57 am by

No project should ever be done halfway, and the commitment of large amounts of resources is no time to leave work incomplete. This is especially true when adopting business management software, since the all-encompassing nature of that kind of tool is going to require a lot of attention and a great deal of focus from all corners of an organization.

However, there is such a thing as going too far with commercial software adoption. It may not seem likely at the outset of operation, but the more time spent studying products, contacting vendors and developing plans for customization, the more likely a project can veer out of control and become unwieldy. This phenomenon is called scope creep, and it should be avoided at all costs.

A company experiencing scope creep is one that had perfectly reasonable expectations from the start of a project, but couldn't help itself from constantly letting more ideas and perspectives make the operation bigger. When implementing enterprise resource planning technology, use the following tips to avoid letting scope creep come about.

Firm planning
Businesses that don't want to experience scope creep need to be emphatic and clear whenever possible. Schedules and notes that seem to indicate decision-making is going to be left to a later date should be revised before any actual work takes place. In many ways, the planning portion of an ERP implementation should be the most difficult part. The execution shouldn't be the time for additional alterations because the natural inclination of project managers is to widen every project's scope.

Set milestones
A good way to know if the operation is on course or leaving its predetermined boundaries is by comparing previously established benchmarks and guidelines to what has come to pass. Of course, it's reasonable to assume that many dates won't be precise, but it shouldn't be too difficult to expect progress to be measurable and updated on a scale defined in weeks.

Design roles
People start thinking outside of the box when they're out of their natural elements. This is good for some portions of enterprise resource planning development, but don't let it get out of hand. When people aren't focused on specific roles and narrow activities, they're likely to cause entire operations to move along different paths than those previously established.

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The Sage ERP team report on various topics related to ERP and business management.

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