There’s a kindergartner in my house this year and that’s put us in a tizzy of getting ready for the first day of school. My son’s excitement reminds me of my own thrill of going back to school each fall and the preparation and planning is electric…and exhausting. The amounts of meetings, letters home, emails, lists of supplies, clothes shopping, etc. can be completely overwhelming. That said, I know it will be completely worth it in the end.
In some ways, it’s a lot like planning for an ERP implementation and the difference between showing up on the first day with everything you need, ready to go and showing up on the first day running late, disheveled, and a little unclear of what’s coming next. With that in mind, from me to you, here’s how I prepared my kid for school and what it can do for you in terms of setting up a successful implementation:
- Be prepared – This is the biggest one, of course, and it matters the most. Being prepared means: knowing the schedule, knowing where to be when, bringing anything you were told to bring, doing anything you were told to do, understanding expectations and how you’ll contribute, and so on. Preparing for an ERP implementation is absolutely critical. If you show up on day one and you don’t know what’s going on or what your role is, you’ll be off schedule before you ever had a chance to be on it.
- Look for your friends — and be open to making new ones – Friends are a great thing. They bring us solace and support, they can help us feel confident, they know things we don’t, and they can supplement and amplify our abilities. When you’re building your ERP implementation team, look for people who bring something special and necessary to the table. Lay out the skills and teams you need present and think carefully about who best fits the bill. That said, be open to new friends, people you might not immediately think of but who bring a great perspective or skillset to your group.
- Play nice with others – Similar to making friends, you need to make a commitment to playing well with others. A big project like an ERP implementation will take a long time, dig down into the weeds of the weeds, and won’t be “done” without a lot of meetings, work, testing, and training. I’m sure we all try to be courteous, respectful, and professional, but I’m going to take it a step further and encourage you to really be nice to your teammates. Investing in great relationships will absolutely pay dividends in the success of your project overall.
- Stick up for yourself – Not to fly in the face of the previous point about being nice, but also don’t be afraid to have a little backbone! If you’re worried about the way a discussion is going, if you think a process map is flawed, if you are positive Jeanine on your Accounting team is going to hate that new workflow, say something. An ERP implementation relies on the perspectives of all who will interact with the technology so speak now before Jeanine is yelling at you because eight clicks to see receivables is messing up her life.
- Have fun – Obviously 🙂 I realize this might be easier said to a kindergartner than someone facing an ERP implementation but an implementation can be fun, too! You have the opportunity to transform your business and set up scalable, efficient processes to make everyone more successful in the future. Enjoy the ride!
With that, I’m off to re-pack my son’s backpack and double-check his teacher’s list to make sure we got everything he needs. I know I’ll shed a few tears next week but hopefully with these tips, you won’t shed any during your implementation.