Ways You Are Sabotaging Your ERP Implementation. Part 1

Setting Unrealistic Live Dates

Overview

Typically in an implementation, there will be a lot of moving parts. A lot of things has to go right for a successful implementation. If any of the key tasks don’t go right, no matter how small the task is, will cause havoc or delays for a company trying to go live.

I can assure you that every Dynamics 365 Business Central (aka Dynamics NAV) consultant/company will tell you that they’re an expert at Dynamics 365 Business Central / Dynamics NAV. Whether that’s true or not and how to detect if they’re full of hot air is probably a subject for another article.

Even if you have the most qualified and reliable NAV partner, projects may still go wrong because of the decisions made by the company that’s implementing the software.

I Want It Now

It’s unfortunate (or fortunate) that we live in a society where instant gratification is the norm. You want something? Order it on Amazon in the morning and get it delivered in the afternoon. These type of service puts a lot of burden on the supplier on making sure everything goes right.

When the owners of a company is often under pressure to make the necessary changes so they can meet the demands (realistic or not) of their customers, they often want to see the same turnaround time (realistic or not) from the projects they initiate.

Setting Unrealistic Live Dates

For some managers, the idea seem to be to set a high expectation for the project. Even if the project doesn’t get to the expectation, at least we’ll be better than the original expectations should be.

One of these types of decision is deciding on a live date. In an effort to make people place a sense of urgency on the implementation, management will set an unrealistic (or optimistic) go live date. The employees or consultants will often be too polite, shy, scared, etc to call out this decision.

As I mentioned earlier on this article, going live requires a lot of precise tasks to be completed, we can hurry those tasks or skip them. But shortcuts will often come back and haunt you. This is especially true in an ERP software implementation.

What always ends up happening is one of the following:

  1. The company goes live without being ready
  2. The live date gets postponed

Of the 2 scenarios that can happen, if #1 happens, the implementation will always lead to failure. From my personal experience, rescuing customers that went live before they’re ready never really recovers. We end up having to re-implement them to get the company back on track.

Hopefully, the management has the courage to decide on option #2 and call a stop and re-evaluate.

In either of those 2 cases, the damage would’ve already been done.

Culture of Expecting Failure

Usually, when a company misses their first go live date, they will miss their subsequent go-live dates as well.

Why? Because the people are already used to failure. Their consultants or the management has promised them that they’re going to go-live, you can almost hear the employees say “Yeah… Right…”.

When I walk into companies that has missed their go-live date a couple of time, it’s almost like walking into a vacuum of demotivation. When you even talk about going live again, you’re just met with an overload of cynicism and doubt.

Prevention

Set realistic live dates and stick to it. It’s your responsibility to call out BS if someone tries to talk crazy about a live date.

How we typically plan out a customer go-live is to pick a date the customer would like to go live, then work backwards to see if that’s feasible; considering holidays, vacations, buffer time, etc. If it’s not feasible, we tell them right away, even if we get scolded at.

Of you’re in charge of the implementation, be ready to say no to unrealistic requests to go live or hitting certain milestones; even in front of a team of management. Yes, they will question your expertise, your resources, your abilities, even your character.

Just remember hurting one person’s feeling is better than having the whole company suffer.

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