And now it’s off to the races. Things start moving, deadlines are set, and the project plan is finalised. Assigned project personnel from the vendor will start to familiarise themselves with the RFP and the response they have given.
This might sound surprising, but it is not an uncommon practice that the individuals responding to an RFP are not to be a part of the project. This is usually because the sales team is separate from the actual delivery organisation and therefore the delivery team has not yet been deeply involved. A better situation is one in which the delivery team has already been deeply involved in creating the response to the RFP. This is because the ideas and the estimates will have come from the team itself which can then commit to the solution.
During the start of an ERP project, there are many things to take care of. The project managers on the vendor side and the customer side are absolutely key people to get the project up and running. And they cannot do it all by themselves. They will need support from management to ensure the proper resourcing of the project and help in making key decisions that can have an impact on the whole project timetable and/or scope. In some way, the customer project manager can face more challenges than the vendor project manager, as he/she is fighting to get key personnel time. Quite often, the mistake here is underestimating the need for customer's key personnel.
During this startup phase of the project, it is vital to set up the key guiding structures and to define their role. Too often I see a steering group that is focusing on the small stuff rather than discussing the bigger picture of the whole project. The small stuff needs to be left to the project team, while steering group will have a clear focus and agreed upon direction of the ERP project. Usually, the ERP project is just one piece of the whole development puzzle and the project team does not see what else is there. It is up to the steering group to see those pieces.
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