The project lead should be a person with broad knowledge of the company’s business, processes, have the ability to articulate the ERP solution vision, have respect of the executive sponsor/committee and the personality strength to work with and ability to communicate effectively across functional lines, the implementation team, and the Executive sponsor/committee.
The project lead should be a key operational stakeholder. The project lead, for manufacturing companies, typically comes from the manufacturing, finance, or IT organization. I strongly recommend an IT employee not lead the project for a few reasons including the greater likelihood the project will be viewed as a corporate IT project (which it is not). Even the best IT employees do not understand the working requirement nuances of manufacturing and finance well enough, and it places the accountability on a support function as opposed to the people who will reap the benefits for the project’s success.
Cross Functional Teams
Core Team: It is imperative that an adequate number of key personnel from all impacted functions be assigned to the core implementation project team led by the Project Lead. These core team members will be relied upon to make/communicate important workflow decisions, obtain input at the appropriate time, and communicate decisions and status to the functional working team (discussed below).
Functional Working Team: Best practices have a separate working team for each function, led by the function’s Core Team member. The Core Team member’s responsibility to:
- Be the project manager for the function they represent
- Uncover any “gotchas” that need to be addressed prior to the ERP system go-live event
- Communicate appropriate issues raised by the functional working team to the Core team
- Drive tasks and open issues to closure
- Ensure adequate resources are being assigned to the project within the function
- Motivator and cheerleader for the functional working team members and across the function company wide