The secret sauce of project success: one board member, one vision

In the ever-evolving landscape of ERP implementation and digital transformation, these initiatives have morphed from traditional technical projects into grand organisational undertakings. With this shift in character, a pressing question arises: Who bears the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the success of these projects?

While in many organisations, the IT manager still holds this mantle, a growing number are now reevaluating the wisdom of this approach, contemplating the advantages of placing this responsibility squarely within the purview of the management team or the board. It raises an intriguing query: is a ‘group responsibility’ approach truly effective, and if not, what alternative paths beckon? Let’s delve into this analysis.

In today’s marketplace, customers wield unparalleled influence. Their demands for speed, reliability, transparency and simplicity in all interactions with your organisation are non-negotiable. Consequently, organisations find themselves compelled to revamp their business processes, reshape team mindsets and champion customer-centricity across the board.

While the technical installation of your new IT tool may appear straightforward, the real trials lie in overhauling business processes, eradicating internal silos and fostering enhanced internal collaboration. These challenges often transcend the skills, experiences and capabilities of the typical IT department.

Now is the time to rally your leadership team into action. Assign them roles and responsibilities. Spotlight them at your project’s kick-off event. Task them with embracing overall responsibility. Provide the necessary support and preparation for their new roles.

Unfortunately, many organisations fall into the trap of designating this responsibility as a ‘group effort.’ In this format, no single individual feels a genuine sense of accountability, and the burden can be easily passed along. Unfortunately, it’s akin to including five colleagues in the ‘To’ line of an email, each asked to take immediate action, with a good chance that nothing will come of it. It’s a page from the playbook of many failed ERP projects.

One approach is the clear winner: designate a single board member as the ultimate authority. Ideally, this should be an individual with sufficient internal clout, unwavering dedication and a relentless commitment to achieving the desired outcomes. This is the person who senses problems in their infancy, possesses the decisiveness to make tough calls and can untangle knots. You need someone who loses sleep at night over your project’s challenges.

With this approach, an interesting insight emerges: the very first action of this appointed board member is likely to involve recalibrating expectations, defining project scope and meticulously assessing the financial resources available for a triumphant outcome.

By entrusting one individual board member with ultimate responsibility for your project’s defined results, you are poised to dramatically enhance your prospects of success. It’s a decisive step that can reshape the trajectory of your project and chart a course towards triumph.

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May 7, 2024


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