Considering the high rate of failures in ERP implementation projects, there is an urgent need to identify the causes of such failures and the preventing actions associated with these causes. ERP practitioners and academics are unanimous that competencies and abilities of the ERP project manager have a direct impact on the project and its well-being. In fact, it is widely accepted that specific project manager’s attributes such as oversight, leadership, communication, problem solving, and conflict-resolution are critical to the success of ERP projects. This case highlights some of the important issues and challenges that the author has encountered as a project manager of ERP system implementation in an Oil and Gas company in Kuwait. The focus of the case is on lessons learned and tips that can be handy and useful for people who may resume this important role in implementation projects.
This project was considered one of the biggest (4,500+ users), and it was also regarded as one of the most complex implementation of IBM Tivoli MAXIMO EAM software ever, reflecting the requirements bundled in the scope of work. It was clear that projects of such magnitude required detailed and careful preparation by both vendor and client involving a comprehensive scope analysis, WBS development, the selection of a suitable implementation methodology, project organization set up, among other things. Unfortunately, many things did not start well from the beginning.
To start with, the vendor has failed to submit the vendors' resources histogram, project organization chart and personnel CV’s to the client prior to the contract kick-off. Additionally, the client right to approve or reject the project team members combined with a very rigorous selection criteria specified, the project had to be started even though the project team had not been formed yet. Consultants were rejected one after another even though they had 3+ years of implementation experience working in complex projects. The harsh and unrealistic selection criteria, combined with the negative attitude of the client’s project manager and the key stakeholders has delayed the resources mobilization and consequently start of initiation and planning phase.
Your client must be aware of the implementation methodology and standard you will apply much before project kicks off. On projects of this magnitude, the challenge will be to adjust it to accommodate client specific needs and you should do it along with the client during initiation and planning stage. However, this exercise must not transform into major changes to implementation methodology and documentation standards you use.
This has not only used up excessive time and efforts by the involved parties, but also had represented a potential risk for the delay of project deliverables.