Build an ERP Selection Team

Why build a selection team?

Let’s answer a question with a question: Are you the only person that will be using the new system?

I would hope not.

A selection team assists the project team with software requirements gathering and attends ERP vendor demos. The team should include at least one member from every department, business unit and location. Be sure to include subject matter experts (SMEs) who understand how the business operates in relation to their particular department. They should understand both the upstream and downstream processes of their functional areas.

These SMEs are your hidden mountain of gold and should be treated as such. To quote a famous dead person, “If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.”  Everyone can and should contribute to your new ERP initative. It doesn’t mean that their particular thoughts or ideas on a matter will be used, but giving a voice to the people that will be using the system is important and will help when you start transitioning employees to the new system.

Select one of your selection team members as the designated project manager.

The project manager will be responsible for keeping the ERP selection process moving and assigning roles and responsibilities. Strong project management ensures your selection stays on time and on budget.

It is important not to have too many cooks in the kitchen. This means you need to authorize your project manager to make autonomous decisions. Micro-management of your project manager means you don’t trust them, and they shouldn’t have been selected to begin with. Practice oversight not interference.

Choose selection team members based on their level of competence and not necessarily their job title.

While you may want to recruit a manager, keep in mind that managers tend to be busy, and this could extend the ERP selection process. Recruiting non-management employees with a deep understanding of their processes is a good way to make employees feel a sense of ownership. They will be more likely to support organizational changes if they’re involved in the early stages of the project.

“The ego is the single biggest obstruction to the achievement of anything.”

Richard Rose

Your selection team will have decision-making power, so you want people who aren’t afraid to share their opinions, even if these opinions are unpopular. Team members will have strong opinions on how to improve their own processes, but you can’t identify these pain points unless people are honest about their day-to-day challenges.