After years of experience with managing dozens of Epicor ERP projects, I've come to the conclusion that the success of the project heavily relies on the skillset of the Customer Project Manager. When we talk about roles and responsibilities of a project, there are typically 2 PM's involved - 1 on the Customer side and 1 on the Project Consultancy side. The role of the PM Consultant is to ensure guidance of the project methodology and provide resources. The role of the Customer PM is to ensure the project goals and tasks are being met. This includes managing team tasks and schedules, getting involved in the learning process, taking on core tasks related to his/her functional area, and communicating with the entire team regarding the status of the project or what is needed for successful completion.
I have seen projects falter because the person selected to fill the role of the customer PM is not a good fit. Here are my Top 5 Qualities of a Good PM.
1. Organized - I think this should go without saying. The PM will be required to manage loads of data, schedules, and outcomes to properly keep track of a project. The PM should be able to give you a clear project status report at any point in the process. The only way to do this is to have an accounting of what has been completed and what still needs attention.
2. Strong personality and the ability to control a room - The PM cannot be a wimp or a pushover. They must be able to dictate tasks and hold people accountable for assignments. If not, people tend to take advantage and push their project responsibilities to the bottom of the pile.
3. Ability to relate to others - This might sound counter-intuitive to point number 2, and believe me, there is a fine line. In my experience, the best way to get people to do what they are asked, is to be related to them. I'm not talking about the family-coming-over-for-Thanksgiving- dinner type of relatedness. I'm talking about mutual respect and knowing how to interact with each other. Bottom line, if someone doesn't feel related to you, they aren't going to want to go to any lengths to ensure they have done a great job for you, which includes their assignments. Landmark Education provides a really good lesson on this.
4. Availability and dedication of time to the project - Ever hear the phrase "the people on the project are usually the people you can't afford to lose (in their respective areas)". Well, unfortunately this applies the PM as well, but it is imperative that a clearing is provided for the PM to effectively manage the project. If the PM has too many other things on their plate you can expect some troubles along the way, usually related to missed deadlines. You will probably want to consider offloading most of this person's daily work to others in the organization or hiring someone dedicated to managing the project.
5. Knowledge of your business processes - While this is not mandatory, it sure is helpful. Having someone managing the project process who knows how you do business will greatly increase your odds of a successful implementation. This is because they know the ropes and can fill in to answer questions along the way.
There you have it, my Top 5 Qualities of a Good ERP Project Manager. If you are interested in a deeper dive, join our Webinar on Thursday, October 27th. You can register here: Singular Events