Finally my project has ended! After 12 months of running, cross training and stretching in preparation for www.thewallrun.co.uk the weekend finally arrived. The Friday before the event was spent reviewing lists, checking equipment, packing bags, repacking bags, rechecking lists, and before I knew it, it was Saturday morning and the event was upon me.
In the 15 hours, 9 minutes it took me to traverse across Northern England, I had plenty of time to think about how this project has been so very similar to an ERP project and how the actual event was so very similar to a go live.
Firstly, it was really clear looking at the other runners, just how much preparation they had done. I see the same with ERP Projects. Some customers put their heart and soul into the project process, getting their data, reports, stationery and processes all defined and thoroughly tested, others hope to wing it at the cut over. Invariably it’s those who are well prepared that triumph on that go live weekend.
Secondly, there are some runners who have a clear strategy for the ultra, when to run, when to walk, what to eat, what to carry. They have done practice events and know exactly what to do when. Similarly, I have seen customers practice their go live, they know exactly how long it will take to load each file, and exactly who will perform each go live task. Others leave it to chance and have a theory about how it will work. Of course, it’s those who are well prepared that have a smooth cut over.
Thirdly, there are some runners who have the right support. They have their own support crew, cheering them on, providing morale as well as practical support. Again, I have seen customers who take the support from the ERP vendor, make sure they have enough experts on hand to make life easier for the core project team. Others make do with a skeleton team in an endeavour to minimise costs, this can often increase user frustration after the go live when they want handholding through their first few transactions and there simply aren’t enough super users to go around.
Finally, as a runner you have to enjoy it. There is a huge amount of satisfaction and achievement. As soon as you have finished you are looking around saying “what next?” It’s the same for the best ERP users. As soon as the main system is live they are looking at improving processes, going live with new modules or integrating to other systems. They keep up to date with their system knowledge and take advantage of regular upgrades. Now they have a system in tip top condition, they don’t let it slide.
Preparation, practice, support and ongoing learning are critical to the journey in ultra running and just as critical for a successful ERP system.