User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is the critical phase of any ERP implementation. Project success highly relies on well planned execution of UAT. Business key users/ subject matter experts form the core project team. Typically, the core project team execute planned test cases after training by ERP consultants.
As a project leader/sponsor, this is the time when you expect early indication of change resistance. It comes from your core project team after the training on the configured ERP system. Following are few of the issues you may hear. It is important to distill real issues from the issues related change resistance. So, look deeply and try to find out the root cause:
Here you go!
- ‘We need more training’ – This is generally passing the buck tactic. Project team may request for more training. It is important to know why more training is deemed necessary? What should be different from the training provided previously? What the core project team is planning to accomplish after refresher training etc.?
- ‘System is complex’ – This is push back tactic. If you are hearing vague information, then ask for specific facts. Where is the complexity? Is it because of lack of familiarity in the new system or different process etc.? What is required to simplify the system, for example – simplify UI, develop cheat sheet?
- ‘System is not complete’ – This is a delay tactic. Rather then testing on what is ready to test, core project team points out functionality not currently available for testing. Project team arguments to have a complete configuration system so all scenarios can be tested end to end.
- ‘What-if analysis’ – This is deception tactic. Rather then testing based on agreed plan, certain team member switches to analysis mode. With the limited knowledge, they try to hypothetically test and find issues. The testing is not real and so does the issues.
- ‘Our Business is different’ – This is direct resistance to change. It generally means that core project team wants to change/customise ERP according to the current business processes. If not managed carefully, it can be very expensive and project can fail.
- ‘Project schedule is very aggressive’ – This is another delay tactic. Basically, core project team is telling that we have day jobs and we are busy. We cannot meet the required time commitments for the project. Questions that needs to be asked is how much time is actually required for testing from individual team member, think about secondments, team restructuring to allow time to project team for testing.
- ‘I am busy’ – It is ignorance tactic. It implies that project team members are not committed to the project. It is a serious problem. Because change is difficult. Other team members can follow the same route. As a project executive/sponsor, act quickly and decisively.
- ‘Where you want me to click’ – This is submission tactic. Core project team do not take full control over the testing. They keep relying on ERP consultants. There is lack of (or no) ownership over the testing process. If it continues, then project spend can be increase very quickly. Further, earned value can fall. So, watch carefully.
- ‘It is all good’ – This is deception tactic. Without putting effort in to testing, core project team members reports ‘it is all good’. Chances are you will experience a lot many issues just before or after Go-Live.
To conclude, project executives and sponsors should expect issues (as listed above) after project team training by ERP consultants. It does not mean that we cannot rely of our core project team. However, we should understand that they are going through difficult time of learning new system/processes and experiencing change. Read more about ‘The Change Curve’
(NOTE: The diagram is not my work)
Strong leadership and change management capabilities are required to deal with such issues. Focus must be on distilling real issues from change management issues.
Good luck for your change journey!