Enterprise software implementations are never a smooth sail. There are unknowns, bitter surprises, issues that you often deal with. But, as a Project Sponsor, you must be at the forefront. Tell yourself that it is not going to be easy because it may not!
Manage your expectations and prepare for a bumpy ride. As you get ready for it, you will observe that it is actually not too bad. The key is to prepare and plan for the implementation to ensure a successful project.
So, manage your expectations and prepare for these scenarios:
1. Resources will come and go
Enterprise software projects can take up to 18 months. During this time, it is common for that member of the Project team to move on. These resources can be a vendor or your internal team. But, there is little that you can do about it. So, be ready for it and support your Project Manager to ensure a proper handover. Ensure to get a better replacement and strengthen the team during this disruption.
2. Vendors may not deliver as per their promise
During the sales process, your expectations may be set too high. But, in reality, the software vendor may not be able to keep their promise. It is not acceptable, but it is pretty common too. So, get involved if you experience that the vendor does not have a suitable solution.
The vendor may offer to develop a custom solution to fit your business needs at an extra cost. Be prepared for this conversation. Always have a contingency budget in the back pocket from the project start.
3. Priorities of your business changes
Due to the factors outside your control, the business priorities may change. Your project may be put on hold or even get cancelled. The business dynamics are such that priorities can change overnight. So, be prepared for this possibility.
4. The Business is not engaged
Enterprise solutions are all about change. It is challenging the current state and moving to the new. You are likely to experience a few Business stakeholders that are unsupportive. Often this is due to the anxiety that change brings with it. So, support your team by preparing a plan and strategy for business engagement and change management.
5. The Solution is not that easy as you think
During the sales process, we all make many rough assumptions. We make a wild guess and hypothetically paint a picture for future Solutions. Initially, it makes sense. However, after project initiation, our initial assumptions do not always hold.
We may experience that the Solution is much more complex. So, it may take more time and effort. This is a common scenario, so have a contingency for the project timeline, but keep it a secret.
6. Incompetent resources are crippling the project
During the project, the Business stakeholders may keep changing their minds. They may not respond in time. You can experience a similar issue from vendor resources.
The key is to get the right people upfront. Set the right expectations at the start. Keeping a close eye on the progress. Take quick action on incompetence.
Summary – Manage your expectations
Look, enterprise projects are complex. So, it would help if you are prepared for a possible bumpy road upfront. The key is to take minimum assumptions. Note and validate your assumptions. Set realistic expectations about the implementation.