ERP implementation is a tricky thing. There are many methods of implementing an ERP project but to decide upon a method that suits your project the best is not easy. As per a report, from 2012 to 2016, 55% of project implementations exceeded their planned budgets and 66% took longer than planned. While the reasons for this statistics can be many, the one reason that stands out is project management. And more specifically, what is the best strategy for a successful project implementation. As ERP implementation projects progress, the main question that project managers must ask themselves is ‘Which project implementation framework best fits my project – Waterfall, Agile, or a hybrid one?
Let’s discuss in detail about these project implementation frameworks – Waterfall, Agile, or Hybrid
Waterfall framework is a traditional approach of project implementation which was adopted by companies with simple static business processes. It is a sequence of implementation stages that flows downward in a series of phases with deliberate deliverables in each phase. Typical phases are Feasibility > Plan > Design > Build > Test > PROD > Support. The emphasis is on design and requirements documentation to follow that offers relatively clear benchmarks to measure progress. These documentations are followed strictly with little flexibility. So, handling changes and issues is a tough task.
Here, any alterations in project scope, processes that didn’t make it into the initial planning, or any deviation from the original plan will cost you extra time, efforts and money.
The agile framework is based on an incremental and iterative approach. Here the software delivery is done incrementally from the beginning of the project rather than delivering it all at once near the end. So, the changes or alterations over time are possible keeping in mind the user feedback. As per a report by the Project Management Institute, almost 71% of organizations report using Agile approaches sometimes, often, or always. Agile methodology reduces waste by focusing development efforts on high-value features and reducing time-to-market. Also, rather than tight processes and rules, interactions and people’s involvement is encouraged.
Here, design and documentation are sometimes neglected so the chances of changes in scope, process and timeline are high. Continuous testing and iterations can prove tiring and time-consuming.
Both the methods have pros and cons. A hybrid approach takes the best of both the methods. Defined work, defined phases of project development and high-level requirement setting is taken from the waterfall approach. Regular iteration, testing, and stakeholders’ interactions are added from the agile framework. Combining these, you can take the advantage of a more practical and clear project roadmap with tangible and achievable goals. This makes it easy to track the progress and tackle any unforeseen deviations or changes.
Choosing the right methodology is of utmost importance before ERP implementation. Choose waterfall method if you have a small project with clear and defined goals and if you are sure that there would be almost nil deviation. However, if your project is large and complex, the agile method will be ideal. If you are not sure yet, go for the hybrid model that offers you the best of both the methods. Since each method – Agile, Waterfall, and Hybrid – has its own positives and negatives, analyze them carefully to choose the best fit for your project and business needs.
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