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ERP Implementation Tip #4: ERP Project Communications – Avoid Broken Telephone

Tip #4: ERP Project Communications – Avoid Broken Telephone

A UN interpreter has to simultaneously listen to one language and translate it into another.  A miscommunication could jeopardize international relations.  With ERP project communications, the project manager faces a similar task.  Though, the repercussions of his failure only threaten business performance – and not world peace.

During ERP implementation projects, senior management and project teams often seem to be talking in different “languages”.  The project manager has to act as translator – converting broadly-stated business needs into project deliverables.  Miscommunications could be disastrous.  The project would almost certainly be considered a failure if it failed to achieve the intended business targets.

The project manager reduces these gaps by sitting on both the steering committee and the core team.

In his capacity as steering committee member, the project manager ensures that he has a crystal clear understanding of the project’s strategic objectives.  Unlike a UN interpreter, however, the project manager isn’t relegated to a passive, listening role.  He has to take an active role to ensure that the steering committee understands:

  • The project-level implications of the objectives,
  • The feasibility of implementing the recommendations, and
  • The associated risks.

With the objectives crystallized, the project manager then has to filter the instructions down to the project management team, a.k.a. the core team.  By sitting as a core team member, the project manager simplifies the communications lines.  Delegating that responsibility would introduce unnecessary risks of broken telephone.

By sitting as member of the steering committee and the core team, the project manager also creates a more efficient communications system.  Increased nodes create bottlenecks and risks of delay.  One criteria for project success is almost always completion time.  To stay on schedule, communication must be efficient, with minimal communications nodes.

In next week’s ERP implementation tip, I’ll explain how to build a winning core team.

Good luck with your ERP implementation projects!

You POV (post comments below)

  • How did your project manager facilitate the flow of ERP project communication?
  • What were the adverse impacts of communication roadblocks?
  • What techniques were used in your ERP project to facilitate effective communication?

In this series of weekly ERP project management tips, we walk you through an ERP implementation project using Pemeco’s “Milestone Deliverables” project management methodology.

You can buy our project management book and CD of template forms “Milestone Deliverables: The Hands-On Approach to Implementing ERP Projects”. Click here to learn more. Learn about our ERP implementation services by clicking here.

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