As the marketing principle goes, an ERP implementation can be segregated in four stages namely Plan, Execute, Track, and Measure.

Let’s have a look at each one in detail:

Plan: It is critical to have a detailed Plan which will help you sail through the process of implementation and keep you on chart.

Planning will help crystallize objectives which ensures more productive use of an organizations resources and will reduces the chance for errors and mistakes due to false sense of immediacy. A generic Project Plan for any Implementation should include following things:

1. Stake holders and Escalation Matrix
2. Scope or Statement of Work – Documented and Agreed by Stakeholders
3. Identification of Resource and their roles
4. Schedule with definite timelines and Responsibilities assigned
5. List of Deliverable – Documented and Agreed by Stakeholders
6. Contingency Plan
7. Groundwork for Phase II

Once a Plan is in place, you have analyzed, estimated, and charted out all that can happen during the course of a project.

However, just having a plan is not enough to insure success the second important step is to ‘Execute’.

Execute: The crucial bridge between theory and practice is called execution.

Execution of a project is also a part of the project plan and hence need to be followed as religiously as other tasks are. Each task identified to complete in order to bring project to completion, comes with a ‘who’ and ‘when’ after the Project Plan is in place. The ‘who’ identified in planning needs to accomplish the mentioned tasks before the ‘when’ arrives for the other tasks to follow track.

Execution is also the most easy to begin and difficult to complete part of any action because of a number of uncertainties involved and the number of elements it contains like people, economy and organizational strategies which are not easy to change in their way of working.

The simple formula to do a task is to do it. As much as the thorough planning can pre-empt stumbling blocks it can’t estimate every possibility and there will always be surprises at the actual execution. The way ahead is to overcome these and complete the task within given time frame by either crunching extra hours or extra resources or implementing workarounds.

Track: If you do not monitor your progress you will not know if you are moving in the right direction (or if you are actually moving at all).

Effective tracking helps you stay focused, and staying focused is what matters when it comes to completion of projects, as many people/organizations don’t fail because they lack skill set or resources but because they lose sight of what they wish to achieve and then the goal becomes a distant dream.

Tracking needs to be done on daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, half yearly, yearly and so on…..there is no stipulated formula for how often tracking needs to be done, but it’s an ongoing activity which should run as long as the duration of the project and post that too. Effective tracking can be established by identifying roles and responsibilities at the beginning of project and assigning tasks and milestones to them, which then can be incentive positively – rewarding for successful completion or negatively – punishing for losing targets. Tracking reports should be coming out of an established system based on data punched by the task doers and must be monitored and scrutinized thoroughly for planning activities ahead.

Measure: You Planned, Executed, and Tracked the progress as well, now it is time to evaluate the overall efforts.

Evaluation not only provides you with the results of your efforts but also serves as knowledge base for further projects and a yardstick to measure the throughput.

Measure is not only to check the outcome of an effort but to improvise the processes, identify stumbling blocks, make provisions and increase chances of success for any future endeavors. Certainly your management is more interested in knowing the ROI of the adventure and grades your performance accordingly.

As the process suggests this is not the last stage in the 4 step activity but a rotating point which reverts back to the first point of Plan, which suggests its more process based an approach than project based.

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