How to Kick Off an ERP Implementation when you are starting NEXT WEEK!

Getting ready to implement or integrate a new ERP system? Here is a “Quick and Dirty” Agenda that we recommended to a client to prep their team – they literally had scheduled this all week Face-to-Face to start the week after we signed the contract to represent them as their ERP Implementation Project Management team, and it was not local. So in order to give them the best opportunity to maximize the productivity of their time together, I emailed them this Agenda with Roles and Responsibilities and Next Steps recommendations.

They told us later it was the most productive meeting they had to date.



Prep: In the room – ensure there is ample white board space as well as / or large post-it stickies

(Recommend that before you erase white boards, take a picture of them for reference, if needed later)



Align on Purpose of Meeting (highly recommend: EVERYONE give a verbal “I agree” to the purpose of the meeting) 

e.g. To conduct a High Level Gap Assessment for Processes transitioning to New System and prepare a “Realistic” Project Plan to complete the Full System Implementation

  • What success looks like: A Milestone Level Project Plan is documented (at least in “draft” form)
  • Red/Yellow/Green Current State Assessment of all major processes within the system – how “easy” it will be to implement in the New System (note: “easy” means both technically and with respect to the people – for example, something that is done over many sites by many people may be Red just because of that, even if the technical process itself is straightforward)
  • Ideal: All (most) of the currently “Red” 

Ground Rules (suggestions):

  • During team sessions: No phones, devices other than if someone is actively using a computer to present (offline may use devices to look up information, as required)
  • All actively participate – don’t hold back information, ideas, doubt, or questions – we need everyone to be candid and forthcoming to get to where we need to be
  • Be willing to disagree and commit 
  • If you need a bio break that we haven’t called – ask EARLY – don’t just leave the room (we’ll all take them together)
  • Return from breaks promptly

Overview Working Session Roles (suggestions)

  • Scribe will be “Timekeeper” to stay on task so we achieve our purpose
  • Scribe will write down on whiteboard and/or sticky post-its our Parking lot items (and track them electronically for later)
  • Facilitator will ask questions and ensuring all participate (this person should be comfortable calling out quiet team members so everyone has the opportunity to weigh in); ideally someone without too much “skin in the game” who can remain objective
  • ALL: help as Accountability Partners to the above roles


Rest of Day (highly recommended – use visual displays for everything – I’d use a projector to display a spreadsheet list with columns for processes and the RYG status, then whiteboard and/or sticky note out the processes – people are very visual and it is quite helpful if you can all see what you are talking about to be on the same page and minimize confusion).

  1. List all Operational Processes that will take place using New System
    1. Order to Cash
    1. Procure to Pay
    1. Record to Report (this could be offline if not enough time)
  2. Red/Yellow/Green assessment for each – see note above
  3. Filter by RED – and prioritize which are most important to work on


Walk through top RED processes (as many as you can get to) and map out what they look like now – then what they’ll look like in the new system – taking note of any business-related nuances that will need to be considered in the new system and whether you know how to handle those or not – at end, assess if you now feel that transitioning these processes to New System is Yellow or Green

DO NOT GET STUCK in areas that you don’t know – list them as “Issues” for that process to follow up on later – anything with more than a couple “issues” will stay Yellow at best!


Continue on Process Mapping for Red processes; move to Yellow if time; re-assess them later


Review the Process List again – for Red/Yellow/Green status

Begin on Milestone Schedule for full System Integration, taking above into account (i.e. ensure there is time for teams to work out each process to Green or at least manageable Yellow built in)

May include independent working time if Robin thinks he can take this offline and bring something back for review


Morning: Finish the Milestone Schedule

Afternoon: List Departments and/or Subject Matter Experts involved in each milestone phase


Morning: List all the Stakeholders (not just the SMEs) for each milestone and/or process – try to identify people who will champion and/or try to derail you – your Change Management efforts should actively include both of these types of people!

Afternoon: Detail tasks for the first milestone, Prep Comms, Next Steps: 

  • With at least 90 minutes to go: Prepare communications for the whole company
  • Last 30 minutes: Next Steps and Actions – when are we meeting again?