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Written by: Colin Anderson

A few years back I decided I needed some time out from my busy schedule and post-earthquake dramas. I have always found heading into the back country is particularly good for the soul and unwinds me. I think this makes me an active relaxer. So, I decided that strolling down the Southern Alps “Te Araroa Trail” on my own for six weeks with a 23kg pack seemed like a good idea. Even with a background of outdoor activity and tramping this was no small undertaking, 600km of hard mountain tramping in April / May. My plan evolved as follows:

  • What is my goal and what route will I take?
  • How long would each stage be?
  • What distance can I cover daily?
  • Do I have the maps and compass to guide me?
  • Am I fit enough and what clothing do I really need?
  • How much food would I need and how do I re-provision?
  • What equipment do I need, lightweight but robust enough?
  • What weight will my pack be, what can I carry sustainably?
  • What buffer-zone do I need for bad weather or the unexpected?
  • Do I need to communicate with people as I go?
  • What happens if I injure myself, how can I call for help?

I finished the journey and it was indeed fulfilling. I battled weather events, multiple dumps of snow and weeks of no firewood. I lost 11kg, got super fit and reenergised myself – objective achieved.

As a 20+ year veteran independent advisor providing guidance to organisations embarking on major systems replacement, including ERP, it strikes me that there are some strong parallels to my tramping journey. A major systems replacement project needs to answer the following questions:

  • Why are we doing this, what do we wish to achieve for the business?
  • Do we have a common understanding of the goals, especially at executive level?
  • What is my plan to achieve these goals?
  • Do we have enough information on our future requirements, options, and the market offerings?
  • Do we clearly understand where we are today?
  • Are we being realistic about the time, cost and resources needed to achieve this?
  • Who do we need on our team?
  • How will we keep the project on track?
  • Do we understand the resource gaps we gave that may require external support?
  • Have we considered the impact of this change on the business over 1-2 years?
  • Have we built a business case and does it stack up?
  • Have we enough contingency for the unexpected?
  • Is this project a top 2 priority for the next two years for the business?
  • Do we have anyone providing independent oversight as a cross check?

Clearly a lot of questions. For me, having the right people on your team up front, and strong Project Governance, with independent oversight, are crucial factors to a successful outcome. Understanding the information that you need to keep you on track, having a clear picture and associated metrics driving your business benefits is essential. Aside from all that, how hard can it be?

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