Defining and Measuring Project Success

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As a new arrival in the Boston area I’ve been putting my best foot forward and attending networking events in order to broaden my network and learn about my peers. The other day I attended a PMI (project management institute) roundtable during lunch where the topic was Defining and Measuring Project Success!

We all want to succeed but the definition of success can be very different from person to person. The same goes for businesses.

This leaves many cloud solution experts and many business owners wondering “When it comes to implementing an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), how do you define project success?

The answer could be straightforward for a project manager: deliver the solution on schedule, on budget, and within scope but most projects have multiple stakeholders and each one of them has their own definition of success.

First, you have executive management that is defining the strategy of the organization. As they define strategy, they expect to have this strategy translated to a tactical level. Usually, they ask themselves:

  • Who should be the customers that define our target market?
  • What should be the value proposition that differentiates our products and services with those customers?
  • What should be the capabilities that make our business better than any other in delivering that value proposition?

In order for them to answer those questions, they need to rely on data. So when it comes to ERP, the success of a project is access to real-time data and the compilation of this data in a way that speaks to them.

Next, the sponsor of the project has the key responsibility of providing clear direction for the project and how it links with the organization’s overall strategy. So for him, the project success can be defined as making sure the project delivered will create the added-value expected. In the case of an ERP, when a company is looking at expanding into a new market, the solution should allow to expand in these new markets and follow local regulation.

As mentioned above, the project manager also has his own definition of success and the reality is that he is looking at the resources, the timeline, the scope and the quality…all the time. All the while he needs to keep the ship straight against the waves of the decision-maker, the user, the buyer and the initiator. His success is to deliver the project on time, on budget, and within scope by keeping all the stakeholders happy… and I can tell you when it comes to ERP implementation, it is not always an easy task. That’s the reason why you need to have a good process in place to complete your project.

The final yet likely to be the most important is the end-user and the organization’s ability to keep their focus. No matter if it is a small/medium business or the department of a multinational company, at the end of the day, the challenge remains the same: ensure the end-user is using the system. Too often, we realize, that after deployment, the client’s under-use their solution. If after 6 months of going-live, the cruising speed is not achieved, the more time passes, the more difficult it is to take advantage of the system deployed. So one of the biggest steps to ensure success is user adoption.

As you can see defining and measuring a project has a completely different definition from one stakeholder to another but in the end, a project should deliver added-value to each of them so the organization can grow and expand. At Big Bang ERP our purpose has always been to create tangible value wherever we go, so with this in mind if you happen to have any questions in regards to your ERP/CRM project’s success, please feel free to contact us

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