PRINCE2’s Continued Business Justification theme and ERP

The PRINCE2 method was revised in 2009 and now includes seven principles for managing projects, one of which is ‘Continued Business Justification’. But wouldn’t it also make sense to focus on business justification and where the benefits are likely to be before the ERP implementation project starts?

Managing a project using PRINCE2 requires continued business justification and “drives the decision-making processes to ensure that the project remains aligned to the business objectives and benefits being sought.” [1]

Effectively this means that expected project benefits are assessed at the start of the project and are monitored and reassessed during and after project delivery to ensure they are realised. Doing this in the right way helps maximise benefits in ERP implementations.

However any business thinking of implementing ERP needs to start thinking about the projected benefits well before the implementation project. Think about all the decisions that need to be made well in advance of the implementation project, and how much easier making those decisions is likely to be if business benefits are part of the picture. The road to an ERP implementation typically starts with a review of business systems strategy, and a system selection project often follows. Progressing along this road usually takes a lot of time, and can be highly prone to subjectivity and bias. Focussing on benefits throughout this process should be an obvious thing to do, but we regularly see companies getting bogged down in the minutiae of system functionality, being unduly swayed by existing preconceptions and preferences, or over-analysing the cost side of the equation without having any clear view of the upside.

Based on Lumenia’s experience, decisions relating to business systems strategies become much less subjective if you’ve looked at projected benefits for each option. Likewise, a process for selecting the right ERP system for your business should focus on how the various candidate solutions might support the delivery of possible benefits.

PRINCE2’s focus on delivering benefits is undoubtedly the right thing to do, but don’t leave it until the implementation project to start thinking about benefits. The earlier benefits are identified and quantified the better.

References
[1] Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2™, 2009

This Blog was written by John Donagher, Principal Consultant at Lumenia. If you would like further information on ERP Implementation please send an e-mail to John Donagher.