Congratulations, you are ready to start your project! You completed the process of finding the right partner for your digital transformation – you made a long list of potential partners, set up a good RFP, made your shortlist, requested demo's and chose your partner.
How do you prepare for the implementation? Of course, Drink-IT will guide you and help out where needed, but if you prepare your project with care, the implementation will run more smoothly and increase the quality.
A Project needs a Project Management Methodology
Drink-IT implements projects using the PRINCE2® (Project In Controlled Environments) methodology. It is one of the most widely used methods for managing projects in the world.
The PRINCE2 method addresses project management with four integrated elements of principles, themes, processes and the project environment. In this blog, we will only focus on the themes within the PRINCE2 method. The themes describe aspects of project management that must be addressed continually and in parallel throughout the project. Drink-IT will give you some essential insights on these themes related to your starting project to start in an optimal and prepared way.
Theme 1 – Business Case
In general, the business case is already known: 'the implementation of an ERP project'. But this is too general; you should divide this case into several parts based on your company's business processes. Answer these questions for every department that will start using Drink-IT:
- How are we working now?
- What goes wrong, or how does our process hold us back now?
- What could be improved?
- Where do we want to be in the future?
- What are the benefits we want to reap from this implementation?
Having the answers to these questions will also benefit your employees going through significant changes. They will know why they are going through changes in their day-to-day work life.
The Drink-IT Team can provide guidance in Process Flow documentation. It is an easy-to-use technique that will allow you to visualize your day-to-day business processes and help you in answering the questions mentioned above.
Theme 2 – Organization
When you're starting a project, you have to set up an internal team to implement the project. The first step is to designate a Project Board. The Project Board should have at least three members:
- The Executive: A member of your organization with a mandate to take important (including financial) decisions related to the project.
- Senior Users: Responsible for specifying the needs of those who will use the solution.
- Senior Supplier: A representative from the Drink-IT Management Team, accountable for the quality of the products and services delivered.
The next step is putting together the Project Team. Make a list of all the stakeholders that will be influenced by the project and define their role in the project:
- Team lead
- Key user
There will be stakeholders who will be affected by the outcome of the project but do not have an active role in the implementation (suppliers, third parties, …). Do not forget to add them to your list, as they will need to be informed.
With every role comes responsibilities. Note for each one in which RACI category they fit:
- Responsible: The person(s) that is assigned to do the actual work. They answer to the Accountable person.
- Accountable: The person who is responsible for approving the work. It can only be one person. In many cases, the Accountable and the Responsible are the same person.
- Consulted: The person(s) whose opinion needs to be asked before signing of the work.
- Informed: The person(s) who has to be informed on decisions taken and work executed.
Theme 3 – Quality
In the business case, you defined what benefits the project should bring to your organization. But it is essential to be able to measure if these benefits are achieved. The PRINCE2® quality theme's purpose is to define and implement how your team will verify if the solution is fit to achieve the planned benefits. You should think of a "system" to assess, monitor and qualify the level of quality the implementation is bringing. This will allow you to evaluate the implementation in a holistic way, instead of focusing on issues that happen on the road to implementation.
Theme 4 – Plans
An essential theme in projects!
The purpose of planning is to facilitate communication and control by defining the means of delivering the project (the where and how, by whom, and estimating the when and how much). It is a never-ending task until the closure of the project and must be reviewed and adapted regularly to adapt to the agility of a project.
Planning will always be a collaboration between your internal Project Leader and the Drink-IT Project Manager. Work and time planned for your team members have an impact on their daily tasks. Investigate how time can be made available to work on the project by shifting daily tasks to other colleagues, hiring interim workers to assist, etc.
Theme 5 – Risks
Every project has risks. Keep in mind there is a difference between risks and issues. Both are uncertainties. A risk is an issue that can be anticipated.
When you prepare yourself for possible risks, it makes it easier when these risks become actual threats to the project. Make an overview of every potential risk that comes with the project and write out the probability that the risk becomes a problem and its impact. Where possible, put mitigations in motion to lower the risk. Drink-IT's Project Manager will assist you in this process.
For example, a risk that all projects face is 'What if a team member leaves the project during the implementation?'. The implementation sometimes takes several months – meaning it occurs that team members, for example, leave the company.
A possible mitigation could be to assign multiple employees per department to ensure knowledge and training is not lost when one key user is "removed" from the project.
Theme 6 – Change
An ERP implementation is a journey, not a destination. It is a change on two important levels. It will change the way of working for many colleagues and, as with any change, some have more difficulties adapting to change than others. Change Management should be high on your priority list when starting the implementation of an ERP solution, and you need to ensure that you plan time and actions to make this change tangible.
The other level of change is the scope changes. During the pre-project phase, the scope was defined and your view on how to implement your processes in Drink-IT are defined in the Project Charter. But it is very likely that changes to this scope will emerge during the implementation. In preparation for these kinds of changes, it is a good approach to define already now a "decision-structure" for these changes. To what level can the Project Team take decisions? Which ones need to be approved by the Executive? Which by the Company? Do we create a Change Approval Board? Who will be on this Board?
Answering questions like these before the start of the implementation will make coping with changes more efficient and less time-consuming.
Theme 7 – Progress
The last, but not least, PRINCE2® theme looks at progress. Together with the Quality theme, the progress theme will give you information on how your project is moving to its goal. Align with your team and the Drink-IT Project Manager how progress will be reported and monitored. What tools are available within your company to measure and report the progress? The progress theme is of course more important and applicable once the implementation starts, but these questions allow you to come prepared to the Kick-off of the project.
When you consider these seven themes in an organized way, you are well prepared to start the implementation!
As you have chosen Drink-IT as your implementation partner, you will have a designated Project Manager. This person will guide you through this preparation thanks to their extensive knowledge of the beverage industry and project methodology. The title of this blog states, "To be prepared is half the victory". There is still a long way to go after the preparation, but nobody will dispute that coming prepared to the start is always better!