There are a number of strategies that the project manager can use to get the best out of each of his team members.
Regular monitoring and coordination of the ERP team’s activities
The project manager of the ERP team should conduct the scheduled work, administer the project, and communicate with the full-time and part-time members on the progress of the team. The project manager is also responsible for carrying out regular monitoring of the team’s implementation progress. He should assess the quantity as well as the quality of the work that is being done by each of the team members, whether in-house or part-time. Regular monitoring of the team’s work will ensure that the project is running smoothly by identifying any actual or potential problems that are likely to arise. If any problems arise from the ERP team members, the project manager should implement effective resolution strategies to ensure that project’s progress is not interrupted (Leon 2008).
Ensuring full co-operation among the ERP team members
An ERP team is composed of diverse professionals who previously worked in different departments. Due to the nature of their work, it may be difficult for them to co-operate with each other. The situation may even be worse because some of the team members are employed on a part-time basis and may be new to the in-house members. Nevertheless, no project can succeed without the ability of the members to work together as a team. It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that there is full co-operation among the team members. This he can do by holding regular meetings for the team members in which the members come together and discuss their experiences as well as challenges. In addition, the project manager should ensure that the part-time specialist is transferring knowledge to the in-house team. This is important in ensuring the sustainability of the project if and when the specialist leaves the organization (Leon 2008).
Effective sharing of task-related information
Information can mean the difference between the success and failure of a team. The project manager can help the team members to share information that relates to the tasks given. In a diverse team of specialists like the one in this case, some members of the team may inevitably have some important information relating to a task at hand while others may lack it. Without sharing the information, the effectiveness of the team in successfully completing the project may be hindered. Sharing of information however requires cohesiveness of the team. Michaelsen, Knight, and Fink argue that “cohesive teams exhibit a higher rate of information exchange and develop expertise in eliciting and using information that, in the beginning, was known to only a single group member,” (2002, p. 81). Cohesiveness comes about through working together for some time. The project manager can facilitate this by providing a conducive environment through which team members can interact personally and professionally and ultimately grow to trust each other to the extent that sharing of information is not viewed suspiciously.
Motivation through rewards and recognition
The below-standards performance of the team may result from a lack of motivation. One of the best strategies would therefore be to motivate the team through recognition and rewards. Motivation enables the team to work more efficiently and generate desired outcomes. The project manager in this scenario should create and record the principle that will be used for rewarding and recognizing the team members. The rewards can either be monetary or non-monetary. However, unlike in individual motivation, team motivation is tricky in that it may motivate some members of the team but at the same time kill the morale of other members of the team. This happens if one or a few of the team members get the recognition and rewards all the time. To avoid such a win-lose situation, the project should devise a win-win mechanism through which all team members feel valued for their contributions. This can be done by recognizing and rewarding the entire team rather than a few individual members (Elearn Limited 2005).
Support from top management
The poor performance of the ERP team may also result from a perception of lack of support from the management. The implementation of ERP in the organization is usually a new phenomenon and a threat to the status quo. To avoid resistance, the ERP team should be made part and parcel of the process from the beginning. The ERP system and its impact on the entire organization should be explained to them in detail through training, education, and open communication between the management and the ERP team. Communication and support from management are indeed crucial in the performance of the ERP because this team is made up of members from different departments who were used to protect their information and make decisions differently. It is the work of the project manager to encourage and support the team members through the provision of necessary resources and making them know of the impact of their contributions to the entire organization (Madu & Kuei 2005).
Elearn Limited. 2005, Project Management, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, Burlington, MA.
Leon, A. 2008, ERP Demystified, Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, New Delhi.
Madu, C.N. & Kuei, C. 2005, ERP and Supply Chain Management, Chi Publishers, Fairfield, CT.
Michaelsen, L.K., Knight, A.B. & Fink, L.D. 2002, Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups, Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, CT.