Blog

strategy & change
peel the orange

 

Read More

By joe zaarour
Deconstructing 4-hour life-hacker Tim Ferriss

~30 sec read. I’m an avid listener and follow of Tim Ferris. My interest started with his 4-hour work week and continued to the current podcast series he hosts with 70 M downloads!

I know you all like short posts and bullet f… points so here you are; I summarise below some of the secret ingredients hosts were able to extract from Tim, with focus on how he build his reputation, the idea for the 4hww and his latest muse/podcast business/obsession. I must admit here I am the one obsessed with his podcast series! There is something addictive about a) listening to podcasts, b) about Tim’s voice and c) the regular business and marketing techniques he follows:

  • A strong joke is when half the room laughs and half doesn’t
  • So what that means is, write for the minority / niche (10 %) of your followers that will love the piece
  • Hit 10 percent and have them love it
  • Then rotate articles
  • There is no sure path to success but to failure which is trying to please everyone
  • Be different from what’s out there
  • List what thought leaders and business constructs want in terms of attributes or rules (specs) then do the opposite
  • Focus on the tactile and not abstract make them actionable and shareable. Ex what is the book you re-gift the most ? is one of his favorite questions to his guests
  • Do not get distracted by social media focus on your art (on building your core product/idea/masterpiece)
  • Shut out distractions
  • Do deep work
  • Forget the most followed influencers they are hard to read instead look for the thought leaders these influencers looked up to and get to them.
  • Recommends: The 22 immutable a laws of marketing ( the old one not the new internet) create new categories !!!! Ex lifestyle design Tim
 Stay tuned for more hacks from milestoen.

Read More

By admin
Stages of team development

Team development stages milestoenEver wondered if there is a structured approach to how new team members bond, fight and perform on projects?

Well the cold truth is every project or temporary engagement – with a definite start and end date- you lead as a team leader or a project manager introduces a new environment; a situation where team members are driven outside their comfort zone , even if some members are familiar with each other’s work.

Every new situation (project) imposes a new set of game rules at the beginning until the rough edges are smoothed out and every member gets a better understanding or acknowledgement of their size, function, responsibility and role on the team. So, without further ado, we introduce the well known concept of ‘stages of team development’.

Assumptions underlying this model:

Every group will go through some part of each stage; the more the group members. know each other and have worked together before, the less time spent in the first three stages.

The stages often play out simultaneously or in different order.
Teams go through different performance cycles throughout the project – each of these cycles requires a different leadership style. These stages are classified into 4 groups; Forming: Initial judgments about teammates are made, Storming: Control issues emerge, Norming: Productive works begins, Performing: Optimum productivity reached. Using Project Management Institute’s terms, there is one last ‘stage’ called Adjourning: Project is done, team moves out of the project

Stage One: Forming (Awareness): The Immature Group

Theme: orientation

Behaviors desired: commitment to group goals as task behavior, friendliness and concern about others and interest in relationship with others
Outcomes desired: commitment and acceptance of team and of others
Actions and activities: learning what’s expected
Leader’s role: high-task, low-relationship to compensate for low follower readiness
Leaderships skills and techniques: value clarification, visioning, communication through myth and metaphor, and goal setting to develop acceptance and commitment as individuals need to understand how they relate to team and team’s relationship to organization
Task of individual: getting acquainted, assessing strengths and weaknesses, participating in goal setting

Stage Two: Storming (Conflict): The Fractionated Group

Theme: resistance
Behaviors desired: acknowledgment and confrontation of conflict openly at task level and listening with understanding to others at relationship level
Outcomes desired: clarification and belonging
Actions and activities: leadership struggles, incomplete communication, arguments and personalizing events; members appear confused and dissatisfied and output is low
Leader’s role: maintaining adequate production while building group competence requires high-task, high relationship
Leadership skills and techniques: active listening, assertiveness and conflict management to resolve stage two issues, and flexibility and creativity to support open environment and set climate for new ideas
Task of individual: listening actively and attentively to all viewpoints, supporting the development of and encouraging supportive environment for expression of ideas, confronting and managing disagreements to clarify purposes, roles and procedures
Stage Three: Norming (Cooperation): The Sharing Group

Theme: cohesion
Behavior desired: inclusion of others in decision making to meet task needs, recognition and respect of differences to meet relationship needs
Outcomes desired: involvement and support
Actions and activities: open exchange of feelings, facts, ideas, preferences and support; less dissatisfaction as ways of working together are clarified
Leader’s role: low-task, high relationship to promote participation and involvement, providing more opportunities for group members to take responsibility
Leadership skills and techniques: use of the techniques of playfulness and humor, entrepreneurship and coalition building (networking) promote involvement and support communication, feedback and affirmation
Task of individual: appreciation of differences, recognition of group success as source of personal power and resources, use of feedback to support collaborative working relationships, greater involvement in decision-making
Stage Four: Performing (Productivity): The Effective Team

Theme: interdependence
Behaviors: contribution and valuing of new ideas and the ideas of others
Outcomes: achievement and pride
Actions and activities: working collaboratively to challenge their potential; celebrating success in the achievement of more complex goals helps sustain enthusiasm and maintain momentum
Leader’s role: delegation reduces need for interaction with staff to low-task, low relationship
Leadership skills and techniques: problem solving, planning, and decision making skills provide opportunities for achievement; mentoring helps to foster achievement in others
Task of individual: sharing in group accomplishments and productivity lead to sense of satisfaction and pride
Enhancing team performance can result from various activities. Examples include:

  • Involving team members in the planning process
  • Establishing rules for dealing with conflict
  • Improving the climate for team discussions
  • Improving stakeholders interactions by holding off-site facilitated events …

Hope you enjoyed this quick snapshot. To learn more please connect with us or subscribe to our blog.

Joe Zaarour, PMP

Read More

By joe zaarour
Critical path analysis

As with Gantt Charts, Critical Path Analysis (CPA) or the Critical Path Method (CPM) helps you plan all tasks that must be completed as part of a project.Critical path milestoen

 

They act as the basis both for preparation of a schedule, and of resource planning. During management of a project, they allow you to monitor achievement of project goals. They help you to see where remedial action needs to be taken to get a project back on course. It took me a while to grasp this critical path concept not because it’s complicated but due to the lack of clarity around the available data.

What is critical path?

This seemingly complex topic is nothing more than a logical 2 dimensional tool you can use to determine the so called ‘important tasks’ or ‘hot tasks’ … nothing more than the tasks with the longest durations AND the tasks that fall on a crucial project path that is called ‘critical’ where if any of these ‘hot’ tasks is delayed, then the project outcome is at jeopardy.

Why is it so important?

CPM milestoenIt gives us a real-time snapshot on schedule lead & lag activity for risk response planning and an accurate representation of the most critical components of the schedule. It is the sequence of events for which, if any event is “improved”, the overall process will be “improved”. Here, “improved” is defined by reference to a specific performance measure.

The precedence relationship notation is included to improve the readability of the model, but the arrows are not used by the simulation. For simulation, the precedence relationships are established by the preconditions and postconditions of the events. A critical path is made up of activities that cannot be delayed without delaying the end date of the project.

How does one compute the critical path?

So what is the critical path and how do we determine it? Well, let’s first take a look at a network logic diagram for a simple sample project.

Each activity has a duration measured in weeks and the arrows show how each activity is depending on other activities to finish before they can start themselves. In the sample activity A must finish before C can start, and D can only start once C has finished etc. We can also see that activity C can only start once both A and B have finished.

From the diagram we can determine three separate paths:CPM milestoen

Start – A – C – D – Finish: 8 weeks

Start – B – C – D – Finish: 9 weeks

Start – B – E – F – Finish: 7 weeks

The critical path is defined as the longest path in the diagram and in our example it is path B-C-D that is the critical path of 9 weeks. What’s so critical about it? If one of the activities on the critical path is delayed the entire project is delayed!

Example, if activity D is delayed 1 week, the project will be delayed with 1 week.

But if activity E is delayed 1 week, it will not delay the project because the path activity E is on will just be 8 weeks and still be done one week ahead of the BCD path.

So the critical path is made up of activities that cannot be delayed without delaying the finish of the entire project.

What happens if activity E suddenly is delayed 3 weeks? In that case the B-E-F path becomes the new critical path of 10 weeks and the finish of the project is delayed. The project manager must now determine how to handle this delay or accept it as the new critical path.

Will a project only have one critical path? A project can easily have more than one critical path and in that case the project manager must know all of them.

Hope you enjoyed this quick overview. To learn more please connect with us or subscribe to our blog.

Joe Zaarour, PMP

Read More

By joe zaarour
Earned value analysis

earned value milestoenHistory:

Earned Value has been in use since the 1960s when the Department of Defense adopted it as a standard method ofmeasuring project performance. The concept was actually developed as early as the 1800s when it became desirable tomeasure performance on the factory floor. Today, it is both embraced and shunned, often in response to prior experience orstories told “in the hallway.”

What is Earned Value (EV)?

A method for analysis of project performance? Is it something that is gained through some progress (ex: completed activities)? Or a measure of progress? Say for instance, a Uniform consistent basis for project performance. Let’s take a closer look:

  • EV improves cost control & provides a reliable indicator of project health.
  • EV metrics also enable forecasting to predict Estimate to Complete (ETC) and Estimate at Completion (EAC).
  • EV compares the budgeted cost of work performed (earned) to the budgeted cost of work scheduled (planned) and to the actual cost of work performed (actual).
  • EV trending helps to identify troubled projects early in the lifecycle before they fail (even though time & money spent seem to indicate “progress”).

Note: Other tracking measurements include: % Complete compared to planned % Complete; Actuals compared to planned Actuals, # Test Cases completed versus # planned, etc.
aka EVA = Earned Value Analysis, aka EVM = Earned Value Management
What are the elements of EV?

Figure 1- Traditional cost analysiscost analysis milestoen project management

 

Earned Value provides the basis for cost performance analysis. If you want to know what’s happening to the cost of yourproject BEFORE it is completed, you need to know what the planned cost at any time was and also what the cost of thecompleted work is. Referring to Figure 1, should this project manager be happy or concerned? It seems that the actual costsare considerably below the planned cost. This appears to be good news. However, unless you look at the planned cost of thecompleted work, you don’t really know if this is good news or not. That is exactly the missing information that Earned Valueprovides.

Figure 2- Earned value elementsEarned value analysis fig 2 milestoen

 

 

In order to understand Earned Value thoroughly, we must become familiar with all the elements of the Earned Value method. Figure 2 provides an overview of these elements. While many people shy away from the acronyms used to label these elements, they quite accurately describe the elements. The project management practitioner should be familiar with the formal acronyms.

Earned value analysis fig 5 milestoen

 

The BCWS is the Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled. Quite literally, it represents the budgets of the activities that areplanned or scheduled to be completed. In the discussion of how to apply Earned Value, we shall see how this is developed and why the BCWS curve has the traditional S-curve shape.The ACWP is the Actual Cost of Work Performed. Again, quite literally, it represents the actual cost charged against theactivities that were completed. Later we shall see how we deal with activities that are in progress but not yet completed.

The BCWP is the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed. This is the traditional Earned Value that we speak of. It represents theplanned or schedule cost of the activities that are completed. The distinction between the BCWS and the BCWP is that theformer represents the budget of the activities that were planed to becompleted and the latter represents the budget of theactivities that actually were completed.

These are the three major components of Earned Value. At any point in time, we have the planned work, the actual work andthe cost of the actual work. This allows us to make the full analysis of our project progress and performance. Some of theother, related terms shown in Figure 2, include the Budget At Completion (BAC), the Estimate At Completion (EAC), theSchedule Variance (SV) and the Cost Variance (CV). We will learn more about these in the discussion on how to applyEarned Value.

EV Challenges

  • Time: Formal EV using off the shelf tools is the ultimate but it takes significant time from PM’s, Development, Testing, Management (Bottom Up estimating @ work package level, WBS maintenance, merging WBS’s, Time Entry precision from everyone charging, working the various exceptions with tasks/resources, etc.)
  • Cost: Formal EV increases project costs, so estimates must include EV activities and the customer must pay for it.
  • Quality: Resources who are charging to the project aren’t always accurate (ie. Actuals, % Complete, revised ETC hours, revised End Dates). Another issue is missing data.
    InfraStructure: Tools, procedures and resources are needed to support formal EV. For example, estimation tools must be configured to align with WBS tasks (not just monthly totals as with IFP tool on the AT&T account).

These challenges are manageable, but many organizations are not practicing EV because of these restrainers. It’s estimated that less than 30% of all PM’s use EV on their projects.

Joe Zaarour, PMP

Source: T Wilikins, J Zaarour, IBM GBS

Read More

By joe zaarour
Hey Google where did all the traffic disappear?

IT seems publishers like Huffington Post, Daily Mail, NewsweekDailyBeast, Time, Sports Illustrated, Us Weekly,and Rolling Stone amass a total reader audience of around 300 million combined – not bad!

Their top referrals are google and facebook among others (see below buzzfeed chart), so imagine when publishers take a 30% dip in readership, oh it happened over a period of less than 7 months according to buzzfeed

However – and here is the catch – traffic from Yahoo increased to over 21 Million in March alone.

Also, traffic from social media and mobile apps seems to put a dent in traditional content relevance as we know it today.

And this brings us back to the whole g+, a defensive last call to save the dwindling traffic bandwidth (and consequently advertising revenue)

Is the G giant declaring defeat or are they just redirecting their efforts to more lucrative disruptive innovations such as Glasses and Now…

In all cases, I still wonder what the best mechanism for evaluating data relevance online is going to be and how well will this tie in to advertising.

Read More

By joe zaarour
the science of marketing [karma, luck, success]

How do you explain when others seem to achieve things that seem to defy all the assumptions? Why some leaders are able to inspire, and others don’t? 

1. Success patterns (apple, ibm, martin luther king, the wright brothers, …)

Simon Sinek calls it the golden circle – the why, how and what of companies DNA. Steve Jobs had a different name for it but consistently proved it at both of his major ventures at Pixar & Apple.

  • why – why does your company exist [purpose, cause, belief]
  • how – say how you do what you do differently [unique selling proposition, etc.]
  • what – what you do [your product or service]
 
A typical sales pitch [outside in]: 
  •  what – we make great computers
  • how – they are beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly
  • why – eh… wanna buy one?

An inspirational compelling reason to buy [reverse the operation, inside out ex; apple]: 

  • why – everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo – we believe in thinking differently
  • how – the way we challenge the status quo, is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, user friendly
  • what – we happen to make computers, wanna buy one?
People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it ! Ie, they buy because of what you believe in or stand for !

What you do serves as proof of what you believe  [as in Martin Luther King’s speech I believe ! – people showed up for themselves, not for what MLK did – but for what he believed and that related to them and what they believed in]
The Goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe! 
The Goal is not to sell people who need what you have, but to sell people who believe what you believe 
I have a dream not I have a plan speech inspired tons of followers. Will you buy an mp3 player from dell? Then why do you buy an mp3 player from a computer company? or a phone? or a dvr?The truth is, you want to do business with people who believe what you believe.
Now, indulge with me for a moment, what I`m about to say is odd but hear me out; Let us attempt to compare the above theory with something tangible maybe science or say biology! The human brain – well at least the part responsible with decision making! I`m no MD and neither is Simon I believe but check this out: The main brain sections are dissected into 3 basic sections that oddly enough align with the golden circle above.

  • top section: neocortex –  corresponds with the ‘what’ level  analytical, rational
  • middle 2 sections: lymbic brain sections – feelings, behavior, decision making, no capacity for language  [trust, loyalty]
So when we communicate from the outside in [what-how-why] people can understand a vast amount of complicated information [facts, figures, science, etc.] but it just does not drive action or behavior!
But when we communicate inside out  [why-how-why] we are talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior then we allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things we say and do – this is where the gut decisions come from [it just does not feel right to buy this, because the part of the brain that controls decision does not control language!]
The first 2.5 % are the innovators! If you want mass market success or acceptance of an idea, it cannot happen before the tipping point of 15-18 % penetration market point. So the obvious key here is to try to close this [early adopters] gap highlighted below fast. The innovators and early adopters are comfortable making these gut decision based on what they believe not on what is available. These were the ones that stood in line for 6 hours to get the new ipad 3 or HD and these constitute your target market and barrier to adoption and acceptance of your product.

There are leaders and those who lead !

[ted id=848]

This Marketing & Entrepreneurship series is supported by selekt, a project+cycle management advisory based in Beirut, that provides project management & social media solutions and consultancy. 

connect with me   Inline image 1    

Read More

By joe zaarour
disrupting traditional brand-building techniques by facebook

Recently, Facebook in conjunction with Forrester Research conducted a joint study where they picked the brains of top C-level and VP-level marketing pros in an effort to gage their perception on social media & brand building (possibly among other unstated objectives of course…)

I found it timely and interesting to highlight key finding especially now that facebook has rolled out the mandatory upgrade of their pages – timelines/milestones, etc. – and their new marketing strategy. As well, more and more social brands are overflowing with cash due to increasing online advertising spending and funding headed their way…

How do/ or I should say did market leaders create brands?  

Have we discovered the holy grail of the customer’s brand-building journey?

What is this gap that traditional marketers are unable to fill?

Let me try to address the above important questions as I summarize the key findings of this report.

The so called new customer-brand journey if you are planning to win in this connected world looks like this: Articulate, connect, engage, influence, integrate, and rejuvenate. We will get to that in a sec… bare with me.

What is more and more evident is that social media [$$] has overtaken all other marketing channels and is redefining the rules of the game, but you have to be mindful of think tanks & trend setters motivated solely by advertising revenue…

Traditional vs new rules:

More and more, social media is affecting every stage of the brand life cycle journey. According to forester, here are some interesting snipets:

  • Marketing leaders believe that social is highly important to brand-building, their current strategies are out of sync with how consumers prefer to interact with their offerings.
  • Consumers are increasingly turning to the advice of Critics through social networks as they compare products. For instance, the percentage of consumers who use ratings and reviews to inform their decisions about online purchases increased from 12% in 2009 to 57% in 2011
  • Consumers have become increasingly influential in this brand-building process
  • Consumers generated over 500 billion impressions about brands through social media – one quarter of these came through online advertising
  • 80 % of consumers said they are more likely to try a new thing based on friends’ suggestions made in social media
  • Consumers expect and are highly willing to interact with brands on social networking sites, but – and here is the catch – they expect something in return! Duhaa of course they do, so be ready to fork out some exclusive deals or secret information

So by engagingly interacting with customers, marketers are able to create the buzz, build the brand personality, motivate people to form a connection with your brand, inspire people to share brand message and maybe even help position the brands and finally communicate directly & instantly with customers! According to the study, Southwest airlines and Bing are benefiting from this phenomenon through friends of their fans whose extended network creates up to x 34 multiplier on audience reach.

Back to filling pot holes (I’m inspired by a rainy day and jam-causing pot holes)… We introduced earlier the analogue vs connected world, but here is a step by step snapshot of how ‘socializers’ expect marketers to step in and bridge the gap:

This Marketing & Social M series is supported by selekt, a project+cycle management advisory based in Beirut, that provides project management & social media solutions and consultancy. Images courtesy of facebook/forester public paper. 

connect with me   Inline image 1    

Read More

By joe zaarour
Elevator pitch

Elevator pitch

It’s a skill every businessperson needs. How to create it, rehearse it, and tailor it for a specific audience?

According to Wikipedia: An elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition.[1] The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.[2][3]

How’s this for an elevator pitch? 

[What do we do?] We offer project management consultancy services [Whom do we do it to?] to SMEs & non-profit organizations in the Gulf & Levant regions [What problems do we solve?] to assist institutions with organization, management, efficiency, clarity, growth, nimbleness, simplicity and effectiveness and also with managing and delivering multiple initiatives on time, on budget, within scope & quality standards.

[How? Why should you care?] We do that by providing the right mix of domain expertise, industry knowhow, tools, training, methodology and atmosphere to institute a practical, affordable and quickly-adaptable discipline. [Why are we different?] We are a boutique firm, a team of high-performance and innovation-driven principle consultants with former big-4 experience and the right mix of success ingredients that constantly challenge the status quo and think inside and out of the box. [incubated @ www.zaarour.me]

joe zaarour

Read More

By joe zaarour
Earned Value Management EV – Project management

History:

Earned Value has been in use since the 1960s when the Department of Defense adopted it as a standard method ofmeasuring project performance. The concept was actually developed as early as the 1800s when it became desirable tomeasure performance on the factory floor. Today, it is both embraced and shunned, often in response to prior experience orstories told “in the hallway.”

What is Earned Value (EV)?

A method for analysis of project performance? Is it something that is gained through some progress (ex: completed activities)? Or a measure of progress? Say for instance, a Uniform consistent basis for project performance. Let’s take a closer look:

  • EV improves cost control & provides a reliable indicator of project health.
  • EV metrics also enable forecasting to predict Estimate to Complete (ETC) and Estimate at Completion (EAC).
  • EV compares the budgeted cost of work performed (earned) to the budgeted cost of work scheduled (planned) and to the actual cost of work performed (actual).
  • EV trending helps to identify troubled projects early in the lifecycle before they fail (even though time & money spent seem to indicate “progress”).
  • Note:  Other tracking measurements include:  % Complete compared to planned % Complete; Actuals compared to planned Actuals, # Test Cases completed versus # planned, etc.
  • aka EVA = Earned Value Analysis, aka EVM = Earned Value Management

What are the elements of EV?

Figure 1– Traditional cost analysis

Earned Value provides the basis for cost performance analysis. If you want to know what’s happening to the cost of yourproject BEFORE it is completed, you need to know what the planned cost at any time was and also what the cost of thecompleted work is. Referring to Figure 1, should this project manager be happy or concerned? It seems that the actual costsare considerably below the planned cost. This appears to be good news. However, unless you look at the planned cost of thecompleted work, you don’t really know if this is good news or not. That is exactly the missing information that Earned Valueprovides.

Figure 2– Earned value elements

In order to understand Earned Value thoroughly, we must become familiar with all the elements of the Earned Value method. Figure 2 provides an overview of these elements. While many people shy away from the acronyms used to label these elements, they quite accurately describe the elements. The project management practitioner should be familiar with the formal acronyms.

The BCWS is the Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled. Quite literally, it represents the budgets of the activities that areplanned or scheduled to be completed. In the discussion of how to apply Earned Value, we shall see how this is developed and why the BCWS curve has the traditional S-curve shape.The ACWP is the Actual Cost of Work Performed. Again, quite literally, it represents the actual cost charged against theactivities that were completed. Later we shall see how we deal with activities that are in progress but not yet completed.

The BCWP is the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed. This is the traditional Earned Value that we speak of. It represents theplanned or schedule cost of the activities that are completed. The distinction between the BCWS and the BCWP is that theformer represents the budget of the activities that were planed to becompleted and the latter represents the budget of theactivities that actually were completed.

These are the three major components of Earned Value. At any point in time, we have the planned work, the actual work andthe cost of the actual work. This allows us to make the full analysis of our project progress and performance. Some of theother, related terms shown in Figure 2, include the Budget At Completion (BAC), the Estimate At Completion (EAC), theSchedule Variance (SV) and the Cost Variance (CV). We will learn more about these in the discussion on how to applyEarned Value.

EV Challenges

  • Time:  Formal EV using off the shelf tools is the ultimate but it takes significant time from PM’s, Development, Testing, Management (Bottom Up estimating @ work package level, WBS maintenance, merging WBS’s, Time Entry precision from everyone charging, working the various exceptions with tasks/resources, etc.)
  • Cost:  Formal EV increases project costs, so estimates must include EV activities and the customer must pay for it.
  • Quality:  Resources who are charging to the project aren’t always accurate (ie. Actuals, % Complete, revised ETC hours, revised End Dates).  Another issue is missing data.
  • InfraStructure:  Tools, procedures and resources are needed to support formal EV.  For example, estimation tools must be configured to align with WBS tasks (not just monthly totals as with IFP tool on the AT&T account).

These challenges are manageable, but many organizations are not practicing EV because of these restrainers.  It’s estimated that less than 30% of all PM’s use EV on their projects.

Here is an example of a very simple excel sheet calculation devised to monitor and evaluate key projects data. (EV):

  1. Planned (hours/value)
  2. Actual
  3. EV
  4. Cost variance
  5. Schedule variance

For more on this topic, please connect with us or subscribe to our blog.

Joe Zaarour, PMP

Source: T Wilikins, J Zaarour, IBM GBS

Read More

By joe zaarour
ERP: lessons learned

We are about to embark on a major ERP and Campus Solutions implementation for a major University-Hospital center. One thing I learned well from working in Big4 consulting firms was to ask for feedback and conduct a thorough lessons learned for others to benefit from.

So here we are before sailing into the unknown, I am outlining some key elements that will make or break your ERP implementation:

  • Change management (repeat these words 3 times at least)
  • Start your BPR exercise before the new system implemention kicks off
  • Forget the traditional way of doing things and become open minded
  • Get used to entering more data than before
  • Find a way to eliminate duplicate entries today because ERPs hate duplicates!
  • Centralized data and sharing – a wrong address is shared with multiple units in your organization
  • A time dimension to data – new ERP system has a date & time stamp to almost every major record so past & future are important in ERPs in making decisions
  • Legacy data – most legacy data will NOT be migrated you will have to enter them manually (let’s be realistic here a push of a button will not seamlessly convert your data from old to new format)
  • Get used to this word: Maintenance – periodical patches, updates and new releases
  • Customize less – it will cost you less on the long run to change your process to fit the vanilla process than to customize!!! Ugly word
  • Culture of doing business is different

This is the cold truth but if you are unable to accept all of the above, think twice before jumping ship! To learn more please connect with us or subscribe to our blog

Joe Zaarour, ERP consultant, project manager and victim of failed projects (and this makes me an expert in the domain)

Read More

By joe zaarour