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Choosing the right method to implement a new ERP Platform or Enterprise Software Solutions as part of a business transformation is critical to the success of the project.

We are regularly asked for advice about the best approach and the answer is ‘it depends’. Sorry but there is no one correct answer.

Based on our research and practical implementation experience over hundreds of projects, we’ve boiled it down to the following analysis that defines what each method is, the factors to help determine the right approach and where leading vendors are recommending.

Implementation Method for ERP Platforms and Enterprise Software Solutions – Agile vs Waterfall vs Hybrid Modern

Waterfall

  • Long and linear way to implement
  • Large volume of documentation up front (e.g. Blueprint), followed with lengthy technical specifications before configuration and customisation can begin
  • Many ERP failures over the years something needed to change – traditional waterfall for ERP is dead!

Agile

  • Designed for software development rather than ERP platform/ Enterprise Software solution implementations
  • Relies less on documentation and rigid project management
  • Focus is on releasing iterative segments of the finished whole solution
  • Good when objectives and requirements are not clear up front and the business environment is changing
  • Pure Agile is not right for enterprise-wide ERP projects but is often best suited for Customer Experience projects

Hybrid Modern

  • Good for modern cloud solutions (templated best practices or for where development/ extensions are required for competitive advantage)
  • Still need agreed objectives and requirements up front and a High Level Design Doc (with gaps)
  • See the system early and often – adopt an inspect and adapt approach – validation rather than detailed design/blueprinting
  • Opportunities to monitor the work progress through sprints
  • Waterfall for system integrations testing of integrated business processes and deployment

A range of factors need to be considered to determine the right approach including:

  • Leadership – supports agile vs focus on delivering on time and budget
  • Experience of the organisation – new technology/processes vs mature processes
  • Mindset – product focus vs project focus
  • Scope and requirements – changing/uncertain vs locked-down/certain
  • Resources – dedicated/same location vs split BAU and project/ dispersed
  • Customer involvement – consistent vs intermittent
  • Timeline – end date not important vs must deliver by certain date
  • Documentation – minimum vs detailed
  • Organisational culture – team empowered vs hierarchy and control

If you are to the left of the scale for the majority of responses then agile is right.
If you are to the right then a Waterfall or Hybrid Modern approach is more suitable.

Leading Enterprise Software Vendors are adopting more agile approaches BUT it doesn’t mean it’s better for you:

  • SAP ditched ASAP in 2015 now has SAP Activate and best practice templates
  • Oracle now uses ACIF and best practice templates
  • Microsoft using more agile – still delivering a High Level Design Document
  • Salesforce – most projects are agile, some hybrid
  • Netsuite – using more industry templates with no detailed design document

Solution Minds Consulting are 100% independent enterprise software advisors and consultants and we’ve been helping companies deliver their ERP/CRM enabled transformations since 2006. If you’d like to discuss the right approach for your organisation, we’re always happy to share our knowledge and can be your sounding board if a vendor is pushing you down a certain road.

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