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8 Traits to Look for When Choosing an ERP Project Manager

ERP Project Manager


One of the most important people in an ERP implementation exercise is the Project Manager. Ideally, the PM should have a combination of personal and professional characteristics that will allow him or her to guide the ERP implementation to completion.

ERP Project Manager

The Project Manager you choose can mean the success or failure of the ERP project. Below are some traits that an ideal PM should have:

1. Experience

The Project Manager should have a track record of managing and implementing large IT projects, particularly those related to ERP.

Through experience, the manager should have foresight on potential pitfalls that can stifle the success of the project. Apart from this, he or she should also have workable solutions that will help the organization save both time and money during the project implementation.

2. Training

The Project Manager should have training in the particular ERP you wish to implement. Most ERP solutions have their own training portals online and offer certification to PMs on successful completion of their courses. There are also higher learning professional institutions that provide project management courses, which are useful to ERP project managers.

3. Good Communication Skills

The Project Manger should have good communication skills. He or she should be able to speak clearly and present ideas in a way that they are easily understood. The PM should also be able to write formally in  proposals, etc. and informally in emails.

Communication skills are also important when it comes to dealing with personal matters. The expectations of the management can take a toll on the team during the implementation phase. Moreover, personal problems of some team members may affect their performance. The PM should have the ability to handle such issues tactfully.

4. Leadership

A good Project Manager should be a natural leader. During implementation, the manager may have to balance conflicting requirements and get everyone on board with the solution to the conflicts.

As a leader, the PM should command respect from all parties involved in the implementation. The PM should be able to bring all parties together and forge a way forward to keep the momentum high on the project.

5. Organization

An ideal Project Manager should be a well-organized professional that can multi-task different jobs at one time and without losing track of them. For some PMs, this skill comes naturally. With others, the skill comes through experience and diligence. PMs can also use project management software to keep track of the details of the project.

6. Calm

There are a lot of issues that arise during an ERP project implementation. These issues can be personal or related to the system.

Crises can arise with regards to human resources, budget constraints, in-house systems, and so on. The Project Manager should keep a calm demeanor, stay steady, and communicate that steadiness to everyone involved in the implementation.

7. Works Well With Others

The Project Manager should fit with the ERP implementation team with little or no friction. While the PM may not be involved hands-on in the technical parts of the implementation, he or she should be able to keep the team functioning smoothly to keep the project on track.

During the ERP implementation, it is not uncommon for the PM to direct the efforts of between 5 and 15 people on a daily basis. Therefore, he or she must know how to work with these different people to keep the team moving forward.

8. Flexibility

One of the traits most Project Managers have is stubbornness. The PMs like to plan their projects and may resist any deviation from them. However, in any ERP project, many things that were not planned for can happen. There can be shifts in timelines, the scope will creep, and resources can become limited.

A good Project Manager should be able to adapt to surprise changes and evolving requirements. The PM should be a fast critical thinker, and should be able to lead the team in light of any changes to ensure the project stays on track.

An ERP implementation project can last between 6 to 18 months. Therefore, positioning the project for success is critical. Hiring the ideal Project Manager will increase an organization’s probability of having a successful and timely ERP implementation. 

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