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I absolutely realize this title a cheesy reference to the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  Apart from dreaming up a new to the world product, service, or process, there are not that many situations you will encounter with the magnitude of an ERP implementation. There is a start point and an end point, but yet there is also a completely foggy middle section.  Really, about the only certainty is that “at the end of this project, we will be running on the ABC system”.   Everything else in the project results from negotiation and problem solving exercises that you will have a hard time anticipating.

Soft Skills are Key for ERP Projects

The litany of unforeseen problems is one of the reasons I am constantly harping on and blogging about the soft skills that are need to survive and ultimately thrive after an ERP implementation project.  I wrote a previous post about the type of leaders needed to get through an ERP project. I still maintain that the flexibility aspect is a trait that cannot be overlook nor overstated.  Unlike the Star Wars universe, you cannot rely on using the Force to get you through to the end of the project.  It is a blood, sweat, and tears type of exercise. The people responsible for the project’s ultimate success must possess an innate desire to succeed  They must couple that with an unwavering faith that the project can and will be successful.

Don’t Underestimate Problem Solving as a Skill

The prevailing attitude of your ERP team has to be one that is very comfortable with the uncertainty.  Their mantra sounds like: I have no idea how, but we are going to get there.  Training, data conversion, and those type of tasks are important.  Those issues are a big part of the project.  However,  they pale in comparison to the problem solving exercise that ensues once the project gets underway.  A million puzzles exist in an ERP implementation. Don’t worry about all of the things you have thought about that can go wrong.  The rubber will hit the road when the stuff you didn’t think about pops up.  That is where the hope, faith, and commitment will pay off.

Don’t worry about it, you too can survive an ERP implementation.  It will be painful, exhausting, and you are likely to come out of it a little banged up. That said,  if you put the right people in the right positions on your team, you probability of success will increase exponentially.

And yes, I was watching Rogue One again earlier today…

Want to read more?  Check out my other posts on ERP