Selecting internal team members when implementing an ERP system 2012
- II -IIDissertation Task 4 1039030Department of Information Systems and ComputingMTech Business Systems Integration with SAP TechnologyAcademic Year 2011-2012Selecting internal team members when implementing an ERP systemTrond Jarnes - 1039030A report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master ofTechnologyBrunel UniversityDepartment of Information Systems and ComputingUxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PHUnited KingdomTel: +44 (0) 1895 203397Fax: +44 (0) 1895 251686
- III -IIIDissertation Task 4 1039030ABSTRACTThe purpose of this Master thesis was to investigate how Norwegian companiesselect their internal human resources for an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)system implementation project, which skills where favoured and whether they tookinto consideration the composition of the implementation team. It also investigatedwhether they followed any of the recommendations found in literature and pastresearch. A great deal is written on the psychological fit between team members, theimportance of selecting the right employees, which skills they should possess andthe importance of the implementation team’s composition. There is also suggested aneed to formalise the selection process. With all this in mind, the research communitywas lacking focus on combining all these critical factors and on summarising how tobest select the team members for an ERP implementation project.By conducting three case studies, each in a Norwegian company/organization thathas implemented an ERP system, data was gathered using semi-structuredinterviews. The project manager and two team members in each of the cases wereinterviewed. Key findings from the case studies indicated that none of the threeproject managers used a structured process when selecting team members for theirimplementation team. Also, Team skills, Interpersonal skills, ERP technicalknowledge and technology management knowledge were not criteria for the teammembers in any of the cases. All three projects faced some challenges making surethe team members were freed from other time consuming responsibilities during thewhole project lifespan. One can also see that replacing team members can reducethe collective knowledge of a team. Finally a list of recommendations is presented.Some examples of these recommendations are; to use adequate time on building agood internal implementation team before commencing the implementation, use astructured selection process, use methods like the MBTI and the 8 Belbin roles tohelp optimize the combinations of personalities and make sure the team membersare freed from other time consuming responsibilities outside of the project.
- IV -IVDissertation Task 4 1039030ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSFirst of all I would like to thank my supervisor Mr Eivind Brevik. He has been anexcellent supervisor and guide while writing this master thesis.Secondly I would like to thank Maria Cristofoli at EVRY ASA. She gave me valuableinput when choosing the topic of this master thesis and she also helped me get intouch with some of the case study companies.I also want to thank my loving family for supporting me and taking an interest duringthe extensive work on this master thesis.Finally a special thanks to my loving girlfriend Inger..TOTAL NUMBER OF WORDS:11122
- V -VDissertation Task 4 1039030TABLE OF CONTENTSTABLE OF CONTENTSTABLE OF CONTENTS VCHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 11.1 RESEARCH AIM AND OBJECTIVES 21.2 RESEARCH APPROACH 31.3 DISSERTATION OUTLINE 3CHAPTER 2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 42.1 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH 42.2 DATA COLLECTION 42.3 CASE STUDY 52.4 INTERVIEWS 52.5 SELECTION OF INTERVIEWEES 62.6 ETHICAL CONSIDERATION 62.7 DATA ANALYSIS 72.8 SUMMARY 7CHAPTER 3 LITERATURE REVIEW 83.1 CATEGORISING AND SELECTING PEOPLE 83.2 ERP IMPLEMENTATION TEAMS 103.2.1 THE RIGHT PEOPLE FOR THE JOB 103.2.2 THE IMPLEMENTATION TEAM 113.2.3 THE SKILLS NEEDED 113.2.4 THE SELECTION PROCESS 133.3 SUMMARY 13CHAPTER 4 CASE STUDY DESCRIPTIONS AND ANALYSIS 154.1 CASE STUDY 1 154.1.1 STRENGTHS 154.1.2 CHALLENGES 154.2 CASE STUDY 2 164.2.1 STRENGTHS 164.2.2 CHALLENGES 174.3 CASE STUDY 3 174.3.1 STRENGTHS 174.3.2 CHALLENGES 184.4 COMPARISON 184.4.1 SELECTION 194.4.2 SKILLS 204.4.3 TEAM 21CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION, KEY FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 245.1 DISCUSSION 245.1.1 SELECTION 245.1.2 SKILLS 25
- VI -VIDissertation Task 4 10390305.1.3 TEAM 265.2 KEY FINDINGS 275.3 RECOMMENDATIONS 27CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION 306.1 CONCLUDING SUMMARY 306.2 RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS 306.3 LIMITATIONS 316.4 FUTURE RESEARCH 316.5 PERSONAL REFLECTIONS 32REFERENCES 33
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 1 of 32CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTIONThe alignments of information systems (IS) and business functions have been apopular issue for many decades. Ever since the beginning of the 1990s EnterpriseResource Planning (ERP) systems have been used to achieve such alignment (Kohet al., 2006). An ERP system is designed to support the entire company with all of itsbusiness functions and needs (Woo, 2007). This means involving a high number ofemployees from various departments when implementing such a system to assurethe best alignment. This makes an ERP implementation such a complex process anda great challenge for all the people involved (Trimmer et al., 2002).There is a general consensus in the research community that the technical aspectsof ERP systems have been well proven throughout the last decades (Chen, 2001).Therefore todays’ research primarily focuses on which measures that should beinitiated before the actual adoption and implementation of an ERP system. Manyresearchers have focused on identifying critical success factors involved withimplementing ERP systems, such as the importance of top management support,project management, ERP teamwork, team composition etc. (Chen, 2001; Nah et al.,2001; Bhatti, 2005; Bingi et al., 1999; Finney&Corbett, 2007). During the last decade,a variety of researchers have stated that it is crucial to involve the best and brightestemployees within an organisation and obtain a good team composition whenimplementing an ERP system (Chen, 2001; Nah et al., 2001; Bhatti, 2005;Finney&Corbett, 2007; Woo, 2007). A variety of criteria for these employees, such ashaving great technical, business, team and interpersonal skills are also stated inliterature and past research (Stratman&Roth, 2002). They need to be able to work incross-functional teams and to be freed from other time consuming responsibilitiesduring the implementation project (Nah et al., 2001). Also, the employees should beselected to participate in the project by a formal set of guidelines to ensure that theyare suitable for the job (André et al., 2011; Kumar&M.P.Thapliyal, 2010).As seen in chapter 3 (Literature Review) in this thesis, a great deal is written on thepsychological fit between team members, the importance of selecting the rightpeople, which skills they should possess and the importance of the team’scomposition. There is also suggested a need to formalise the selection process,which can be achieved by e.g. using decision support systems. With all this in mind,the research community was lacking focus on combining all these critical factors andon summarising how to best select the team members for an ERP implementationproject (Patel, 2010). Based on these limitations this research project investigated
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 2 of 32how three Norwegian companies selected their employees when implementing theircurrent ERP system. The findings from this research project combined with literatureand past research resulted in recommendations on how to best select internal humanresources for an ERP implementation project in a Norwegian company.1.1 Research aim and objectivesThe aim of this research project was to investigate how Norwegian companies selecttheir internal human resources for an ERP implementation project, which skills wherefavoured and whether they took into consideration the composition of theimplementation team. It also investigated whether they followed any of therecommendations found in literature and past research. This research combined withearlier findings resulted in recommendations for companies selecting internal humanresources for their ERP implementation project. It shows how employees have beenselected within three Norwegian companies in three different business areas. This againwill open for the possibility for a bigger and more quantitative research that statisticallycan validate these trends and in that way further benefit academia. It will also be usefulwithin industry, since it will help companies to realize the impact of selecting internalhuman resources and give them recommendations on how to do this.Research question: How to select internal team members when implementing an ERP system?Objectives: Conduct a literature review on the selection of human resources for a project. Conduct case studies with three Norwegian companies that have implementedan ERP system in their organisation. Analyse the gathered data from the case studies to find out how the companiesselected employees for their project, which skills where favoured and to whatextent they took in to consideration the composition of the team. Compare findings from the case studies with literature and past research. Critically analyse and compare the objectives against the research question ofthis research project. Make recommendations on how to select internal human resources for an ERPimplementation project on the basis of the findings from this research, literatureand past research.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 3 of 321.2 Research approachFor this research project a qualitative research methodology has been followed. Onepilot study and three case studies have been conducted. Each of the studies focused ona Norwegian company within one specific business area (aviation, renewable energyand government) that have implemented an ERP system. Semi-structured interviewswere used to gather data from these companies. Project managers and team memberswere interviewed to determine how employees were selected, which skills wherefavoured and if they took into consideration the composition of the team. The datagathered from the interviews were coded into three categories and structured into tablesto easier compare the findings to the literature and previous research. The findings werediscussed and essentially resulted in recommendations on how to select internal humanresources when implementing an ERP system in a Norwegian company.1.3 Dissertation outlineThe rest of this paper is structured as follows.CHAPTER 2 Methodology: A presentation of the selected methodology for this researchproject.CHAPTER 3 Literature review: A literature review of methods for selecting people forprojects in general, and a range of past and current work related to the selection andthe importance of internal human resources in an ERP implementation project.CHAPTER 4 Case study descriptions and analysis: An introduction to each of the casestudies and comparisons of the findings against the recommendations found in literatureand past research.CHAPTER 5 Discussion, key findings and recommendations: A critical discussion of thefindings and recommendations on how to select internal human resources whenimplementing an ERP systemCHAPTER 6 Conclusion: A summarised conclusion, the research contribution of thethesis, its limitations, and some future research that can be conducted and personalreflection of the author.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 4 of 32CHAPTER 2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThis chapter presents and argues for the method, data collection and data analysisused throughout the research. The chapter is divided into four parts. The first partintroduces the chosen research method, the second part explains how data iscollected, and the third part describes the data analysis process and finally the fourthpart summarizes the chapter.2.1 Qualitative researchQualitative and quantitative researches are both used within the social sciences.Qualitative research offers a deeper insight on the subject than quantitative since itinvestigates knowledge using focused methods like interviews, participantobservations or ethnographic studies etc. (Grix, 2004). The number of casesanalysed is naturally also less in number than in quantitative research. A researcherhence get a closer relationship to the subjected persons involved in a qualitativeresearch project and therefore the ethical considerations are considered to begreater compared to quantitative research. Critics of qualitative research oftenquestion the validity of the data gathered, since it is hard to statistically generalize thefindings from small samples (Grix, 2004). Qualitative research is most commonlyused to gain information on a specific event, decision, geographical location or issue.A qualitative approach often aims to prove trends, patterns or relationships betweenvariables etc. (Grix, 2004).For this research project a qualitative rather than a quantitative approach is chosenjustified by the aim to investigate a specific process and to learn about the trendsregarding such a process within different companies in Norway. This requires a deepapproach when collecting data rather than a broad and longitudinal approach likemost quantitative researches are. This approach also fit the timeframe of theresearch project.2.2 Data collectionThe data collected in this research project stems from both primary and secondaryresearch. Data is gathered from interviews (primary), third party research andliterature (secondary). Interviews of employees involved in the implementation projectwere used to gather data on how people where selected to contribute to the project.Third party research and literature were used to gain knowledge on the skills neededby people in an ERP implementation and methods for selecting people for jobs,projects etc.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 5 of 322.3 Case studyThe Case study method is most commonly used as a qualitative research methodthat investigates individuals, organisations, processes, programs, neighbourhoods,institutions, events etc. (Yin, 2009). Case study research can use both single andmultiple-case studies (Yin, 2009). Single-case studies are often used wheninvestigating a unique or critical case that cannot be compared with or supported byother cases. The critics of single-case study design are sceptical to the validity of thefindings when only one case has been investigated (Grix, 2004; Yin, 2009).Therefore extremely strong arguments are required to choose a single-case design.On the other hand, using multiple-cases diminishes, to some extent, the criticism andscepticism related to the validity of the single-case design (Yin, 2009). When usingmultiple-case studies, independent cases are investigated separately to finallycontribute to one joint conclusion in the end. Another argument for doing multiplecase studies is to increase the understanding and explanation of a subject(Miles&Huberman, 1994). The multiple case studies makes it easier to determineunder which condition the findings of the research occur (Miles&Huberman, 1994).In this research project a multiple-case study design was used. A pilot study wasconducted before the actual case studies to test the questions and see how a personwould react to them. Further the three case studies were conducted to strengthen thevalidity of the research, because the analytical benefits from using two or more casescould be of significant (Yin, 2009). Each case focuses on a company in Norwaywithin one specific business area that have implemented an ERP system in theirorganisation.2.4 InterviewsA semi-structured interview is a popular method of interviewing since it gives theinterviewer a great deal of flexibility (Grix, 2004). The interviewer uses around 10predefined questions during the questioning. These questions do not have to beasked in a specific order and additional questions can be added during the interview.This provides the interviewer the possibility to gain more insight into the participants’knowledge and gives the interview a calmer and more natural touch (Grix, 2004).The semi-structured interview method is used in this research project because itgives flexibility when conducting the interviews. There are two sets of interviews, onefor the project managers and one for the team members. Since the interviews aresemi-structured it is possible to add additional questions to the seven predefinedquestions during an interview. The questions are categorized into the following three
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 6 of 32groups; Selection, Team and Skills. This is to easier link the gathered data toprevious research and literature. During an interview the questions can be asked in arandom order regardless of which group they belong to.2.5 Selection of intervieweesBoth project managers and regular team members (system users) were interviewed.This was done to find out how the implementation teams were constructed and if therecommendations found in literature and past research was taken into considerationwithin in the three cases. The aim of interviewing the managers was to investigatehow they selected their team members for their implementation project, what criteriathey considered for their candidates and how they viewed the success of theirimplementation team. The interviews with the team members focused oninvestigating how they experienced the rest of the team and how it performed inrelation to the skills and knowledge that is required for an ERP implementation.Interviewing the team members also worked as a reference/challenge to what theproject managers answered.Because of the lack of available people across the three case studies, only two teammembers were interviewed in each company. Although this was below therepresentable selection that was desired it still gave an indication on how the teammembers was selected and how the teams functioned.2.6 Ethical considerationThe people involved in this research project are the academic supervisors, theproject managers and the project team members from each of the three case studycompanies that have been subjected to my interviews. The participants from the casestudies needed to be interviewed to learn how the selection process, of internalhuman resources for an ERP implementation project, was conducted in threeNorwegian organisations. The specific data gathered by the interviews, the personalinformation of the interview objects and the name of the case study companies areconfidential and therefore will not be disclosed to anyone except the academicsupervisors. The participant’s received an information sheet that described theresearch project and its intent. Each participant filled out a consent form regardingtheir participation and they also had the option to withdraw their contributedinformation at any time during the research project. Dr. Laurce Brooks, Chair of theResearch Ethics Committee, approved the standard Ethics application form(Appendix A) from Brunel University.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 7 of 322.7 Data analysisThere is no one right way to analyse qualitative data (Coffey&Atkinson, 1996). This isbecause there are many different types of qualitative data which require manydifferent ways of analysing (Coffey&Atkinson, 1996). Since this research project is ofa qualitative nature, using case studies and semi-structured interviews, the data willbe soft (words and images from documents and observations) (Grix, 2004). The dataare coded into the following three groups; Selection, Skills and Team. These groupsare formed on the basis of literature and previous research regarding employeeselection and team building. The data was structured into tables, which made iteasier to compare the findings from the interviews to the literature and previousresearch. The findings were discussed and essentially resulted in somerecommendations on how to select internal human resources when implementing anERP system in a Norwegian company.2.8 SummaryThis research project is based on a qualitative approach using three case studies,and the data is gathered by using semi-structured interviews. The data is confidentialand will be coded into three groups (Selection, Skills and Team), selected based onliterature and previous research, and structured into tables making it easier toanalyse. The following chapter (3) will consist of a literature review.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 8 of 32CHAPTER 3 LITERATURE REVIEWThis chapter introduces past and current literature and research on project teamsand information on how to build them. The first part of this chapter will focus on howto categorise and select people. The second part deals with ERP implementationteams and what is important when forming such teams.3.1 Categorising and selecting peopleDespite the developments done within the field of project management, managinghuman resources still remains a great challenge (Otero&Otero, 2012). Involvingpeople into teams is critical for a projects success (de Korvin et al., 2002). Projectmanagers therefore need to select the right people to make sure that the objectivesof the project will be filled (de Korvin et al., 2002). Selecting the right kind of people isoften difficult, whether it is to fill a position for a job or to put together a project team.Managers and psychologists have developed many different tests to help understandand categorize people. These tests have been used for hiring people, assigning themto different jobs, projects and other similar assessments (Frame, 1995).The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one example of a psychological test thatis used in conjunction with selecting the right people for a technical project (Frame,1995). It consists of a number of tests to determine a person’s psychological type.This method is based on work of the famous Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. In 1923he published a work describing different psychological types. The MBTI methodcategorises people using four scales; extravert-introvert, sensing-intuitive, thinking-feeling, and judging-perceiving. Depending on where a person fits in the differentscales he/she will match one out of sixteen different psychological types (Frame,1995). Using the MBTI characteristics have been proven to have a major effect onthe success of a IT-project since personality plays a considerable role in a teambased project (Peslak, 2006). Based on the MBTI method, recommendations oncreating optimal software teams have been made (Gorla&Lam, 2004). Therecommendations regarding personalities are listed in Table 1 below.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 9 of 32Recommendations for creating an optimal software teamPersonalityheterogeneitySelect personnel so there is personality heterogeneity between the teamleader and other team members in the social-interaction andinformation-gathering dimensions. All of the four of these personalitycategories should be represented: extrovert-intuitive, extrovert-sensing,introvert-intuitive, and introvert-sensing.Diversity ofpersonalitiesIt is unnecessary to have diversity of personalities among team members(excluding team leader) due to the fact that members need to performmultiple tasks of the system development life cycle (SDLC) andheterogeneity is not good for all phases. This should give IS managersthe flexibility needed to select members of appropriate personality,although it may be difficult for small businesses with limited resourcesto find desired personnel.Team leaderSelect the team leader such that he or she is of intuitive (N) type on theinformation- gathering dimension, since such a team leader will be ableto visualize future information requirements better. The optimalpersonality for a team leader in the decision-making dimension is afeeling (F) type. The preferred personality type in the dimensioninvolving dealing with external world is judging (J), since it is importantfor the team leader to establish project milestones and make sure othermembers follow them.TeammemberThe optimal team member personality for dealing with the externalworld dimension is judging (J), since this attribute will help them meetproject deadlines.SystemsanalystThe optimal personality for a systems analyst in the decision-makingdimension is thinking (T), because a thinking person will use a scientificapproach and base decisions on logical reasoning. A sensing (S) typesystem analyst is optimal regarding the information gatheringdimension, since heterogeneity between the personalities of the teamleader and team members on the information gathering dimension isdesired and an intuitive team leader is preferred. The practicalorientation of a sensing type will be helpful in providing detailed designand programming specifications and participating in programming tasks.ProgrammersThe preferred personality for programmers on small teams is extroverted(E). An extrovert can communicate easily with other participants insystem development. As with other team members, the desiredpersonality types for a programmer are sensing (S) on the information-gathering dimension and judging (J) on the dimension involving dealingwith the external world.Table 1 Recommendations for creating an optimal software team (Gorla&Lam, 2004)According to the recommendations above, psychological tests like the MBTI mayhelp managers combine personalities that work well together in a project. However,one of the problems when using the MBTI method, is that it does not measureintelligence, drive, or technical competence (Frame, 1995). It only shows a managerthe psychological type, which although it will give him/her the ability to get a betterpsychological equality between the people in a project, it will not be enough if theproject is of a technical nature (Frame, 1995).The work of Meredith Belbin is also used when selecting people for a project(Cadle&Yeates, 2008). Belbin discovered there are eight “team roles” that arenecessary in a project. These roles are Coordinator, Shaper, Innovator, ResourceInvestigator, Monitor/Evaluator, Team Worker, Implementer and Completer. When all
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 10 of 32these roles are filled, the team is more likely to succeed (Cadle&Yeates, 2008).Belbin’s method could be a helpful tool for managers to avoid selecting teammembers of only one kind (Cadle&Yeates, 2008).3.2 ERP implementation teamsThe technical aspect of ERP implementation has been well proven throughout thelast decades, today it is more commonly to focus on what needs to be done beforethe actual adoption and implementation (Chen, 2001). This involves all planningissues related to ERP implementations and the different important steps of theplanning process, like choosing the “right” ERP system, involving the right people,matching business processes with the chosen system, understanding theorganisational requirements and also economic and strategic justification (Chen,2001). During the last decade, a variety of researchers (Chen, 2001; Nah et al.,2001; Bhatti, 2005) have stated that it is crucial to involve the best employees withinan organisation and obtain a good team composition when implementing an ERPsystem. A variety of criteria for these employees are also prepared in literature andpast research. Therefore, this section will focus on the importance of involving theright people in an ERP project, which skills are required of the team members, thecomposition of the team and essentially how one can ensure that the mostappropriate employees will be selected.3.2.1 The right people for the jobSelecting employees to be involved in an ERP implementation project requires theright employees with both technical and business knowledge (Stratman&Roth, 2002;Gorla&Lam, 2004; Woo, 2007). It is also important that the employees involved in anERP implementation project understand the organisational requirements. Thisrequires that the top management identifies the best people in the organisation,make them commit to the project and free them from other time consumingresponsibilities during the implementation (Chen, 2001; Nah et al., 2001; Bingi et al.,1999; Chen&Small, 1996; Finney&Corbett, 2007). Companies seldom realize theimportance of involving the right kind of employees in an ERP implementation projecttherefore the importance of this aspect cannot be overemphasized (Bingi et al.,1999). A lack of understanding of the needs of the project and not being able to helpguide the project is a major reason for failure of an implementation project (Bingi etal., 1999). According to a survey, made by Jeff Stratman and Roth, having competentmembers of the ERP team ranked fourth on the most important success factors for ISimplementations (Bhatti, 2005). In addition in a list over issues regarding ERP
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 11 of 32implementations made in 2010, the selection of the right employees to involve in animplementation project was one of the main points (Kumar&M.P.Thapliyal, 2010).3.2.2 The implementation teamThe team members’ commitment to an ERP implementation project is important andinvolves spending a significant amount of time on administrative tasks like serving onthe steering or executive committee managing the implementation (Chen, 2001).Teamwork and composition of the implementation team is also often declared ascritical success factors since they are important throughout the whole ERP life cycle(Nah et al., 2001). It is also important to focus on building cross-functional teamswhich hold both technical and business knowledge to achieve success (Nah et al.,2001; Woo, 2007). These teams should also, as far as possible, be co-located tomake it easier for the team members to work together (Nah et al., 2001). The teamshould be balanced and consist of a mixture of internal and external resources(Bhatti, 2005). Internal employees involved in the project should especially possessgreat knowledge in the needs of the company and its business processes(Kumar&M.P.Thapliyal, 2010; Bingi et al., 1999; Gorla&Lam, 2004).3.2.3 The skills neededERP systems constantly evolve and therefore require an updated set of skills(Mohamed&McLaren, 2009). Due to the lack of people with ERP skills in the late1990s, university business schools started to include ERP in their curriculum. Inrelation to this, Boyle and Strong (Mohamed&McLaren, 2009) joined past studieswith their own survey-based research to categorize the key ERP skills required byuniversity graduates. This resulted in 32 skills divided into five categories illustratedin Table 2 below.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 12 of 32Key ERP skills required by university graduatesERP technical knowledge ERP Administration Networks Operating systems Systems Analysis Systems Design/Integration Systems Life Cycle Management Relational Databases ERP related programminglanguage Data Management Decision Support SystemsTechnology management knowledge Knowledge of ERP Concepts Ability to learn new technologies Ability to focus on technology asa means, not an end Ability to understandtechnological trendsBusiness functional knowledge Knowledge of BusinessFunctions Willingness to learn in detail aspecific business functional area Ability to quickly understand theneeds of customers Ability to understand the businessenvironment Ability to interpret businessproblems Ability to develop appropriatetechnical solutions to businessproblems.Interpersonal skills Ability to deal with uncertainty Ability to accomplishassignments Ability to writecoherently Ability to learn Ability to deliver effectivepresentations Ability to beproactive Ability to be sensitive toorganisational culture Ability to teach othersTeam skills Ability to work cooperatively in ateam environment Understanding of group dynamics Ability to plan projects Ability to lead projectsTable 2 Required ERP Skills for ERP Education (Mohamed&McLaren, 2009)These skills should to some extent be applicable for team members in animplementation project. In addition, eight important competency constructs for thoseworking with an ERP system have been identified by doing a cross-disciplinaryliterature review, followed by structured and unstructured interviews of various rolesinvolved in an ERP system (Stratman&Roth, 2002). These constructs are divided into
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 13 of 32“Technical & Managerial elements” and “Organisational elements” as shown in Table3 below.Technical & ManagerialElementsOrganisational ElementsStrategic IT Planning Business Process SkillsExecutive Commitment ERP trainingProject Management LearningIT Skills Change readinessTable 3 Theoretical framework linking ERP competence constructs and performance (Stratman&Roth,2002)The ability to handle greater responsibility when working on the project is anotherimportant capacity (Muscatello&Chen, 2008). Unintended consequences may occur ifan employee has an emotional fallout due to greater responsibility than normal(Muscatello&Chen, 2008). This section shows there are many skills related to ERPsystems mentioned in literature and past research even though managers sometimesfail to acknowledge the skills required of their employees when implementing an ERPsystem (Muscatello&Chen, 2008).3.2.4 The selection processThe lack of proper system understanding and the ability to provide leadership for theproject team is a major reason for ERP implementation failure(Kumar&M.P.Thapliyal, 2010). This has been discussed continuously in pastliterature and research. During the last few years researchers have begunemphasising the need to follow formal guidelines when selecting internal humanresources for a technical project (Kumar&M.P.Thapliyal, 2010). That indicates thatresearch on the topic of internal human resources has evolved from simply statingthe importance of involving employees and which skillset they should possess, todiscuss how they should be selected. People are often assigned to projects based onhow the project leaders experience with them in the past, their availability and theirskills (André et al., 2011). A large organisation with a high number of employeesoften contain several possible candidates for a project (André et al., 2011). To pickthe right candidates to participate in a project, could therefore be as good asimpossible without help from some kind of decision support system (André et al.,2011).3.3 SummaryIn this chapter past and current literature and research on project teams have beenpresented. As can be seen, it has been written about the psychological interactionbetween team members, the importance of selecting the right people, which skillsthey should possess and the importance of the team’s composition. In recent years it
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 14 of 32has also been identified a need to formalise the selection process, which can beachieved by using decision support systems. The following chapter (4) will introducethe case studies and an analysis of the gathered data.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 15 of 32CHAPTER 4 CASE STUDY DESCRIPTIONS AND ANALYSISThis chapter describes the three case studies regarding both strengths andchallenges. The answers from the interviews in each company was collected in atable and compared to recommendations presented in literature and past research.The comparison is presented in the last section of this chapter.4.1 Case study 1The first case study (C1) presents a company developing communication technologyfor commercial air travel. In 2009 they started to implement a new ERP system fromMicrosoft called Dynamix AX. This system went live in March 2011. Theirimplementation project team consisted of employees representing every division ofthe company allocated across two Norwegian cities. Overall their implementationproject is seen as a success, meaning it was finished fairly within time and budget.4.1.1StrengthsBy comparing the interviews conducted with the project manager and the two projectmembers in C1, a couple of strengths are identified (Table 4). The project managerfocused on company experience and cross-functionality when building theimplementation team. This led to all-over satisfying collective company knowledgewithin the team. According to the two project members this was the situation at thebeginning of the project, until people was taken off the project for different reasons.This resulted in a loss of knowledge in the team in general.Table 4 Strengths in C14.1.2ChallengesIn the same way that the strengths were identified there was also identified someproblems (Table 5). Some employees embraced the increased responsibility;however some struggled with it and were essentially replaced, according to theproject manager. The project manager also said there was a generally good supportamong the team members. Still some people had some motivation problems and in afew cases members were slowly phased out of the project because of their negativeattitude.Every project member logged hours to make sure the workload was evenly balancedbetween the project and other responsibilities. Despite this action, both of theinterviewed team members claimed they had too much work to do in certain periodsCategory StrengthsSkills A cross-functional team.Good knowledge at first.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 16 of 32of the project and they did not always get freed from other time-consumingresponsibilities.One of the team members experienced difficulties with the combination of differentpersonalities in the team. He/she experienced that not everybody was willing todiscuss issues regarding the business. Some even kept issues hidden from othermembers of the team, which eventually led to a lot of extra work.According to the team members, knowledge within the project team was eventuallyreduced due to members being replaced.Category ChallengesSelection No formal guidelinesSkills Lost some knowledge when members got replacedTeamSome struggled with increased responsibilities and insome cases had to be replaced.Had to replace some team members because of negativeattitude.Team members claim that they had too much work to doin certain periods.Some problems with different personalities.Table 5 Challenges in C14.2 Case study 2The second case study (C2) is based on a Norwegian renewable energy company.They first implemented SAP’ ERP system called R3 which went live in the lastquarter of 2002. In the following years they have continued to build and expand thefunctionality of their ERP system. One of these expansions contained a replacementof their maintenance system, so in 2009 they started a project called MainSAP. Thisproject has been the focus of C2. Their implementation project team consisted ofemployees representing the maintenance department in the company. Thisimplementation project has been considered a success.4.2.1StrengthsBy comparing the interviews, conducted with the project manager and the two teammembers in C2, a couple of strengths are identified (Table 6). The team membersexpressed there was a good access to knowledge within the team. There alsoexisted a good dialogue between the team members. This project needed a highnumber of contributors, which resulted in a large team with a broad experience.People were sincerely dedicated, motivated and solution oriented according to thetwo team members. The project manager concluded it was undoubted a positiveexperience to lead the project and he said the team coped very well with increasedresponsibilities.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 17 of 32Category StrengthsSkillsGood access to knowledge.Dialog with other people.TeamA large team with broad experience.People were dedicated, had good motivation and solutionoriented.People coped very well with increased responsibilities.Table 6 Strengths in C24.2.2ChallengesThe project in C2 seems to have been carried out without much complication.Nevertheless there are some minor problems that can be mentioned (Table 7). Oneof the team members experienced some challenges related to the combination ofdifferent personalities. There were different opinions on how processes actually wererelated and this led to some difficulties. At the beginning of the project they showed agood ability to manage their time, which resulted in an exactable workload. However,later on in the project a time squeeze appeared and sometimes the amount of workwas way too big according to the two team members.Category ChallengesTeamSome challenges regarding different personalities resulting in different shades ofopinion regarding how things actually are related.Sometimes it became too much work.At the beginning of the project, we were perhaps better to manage our time. Butlater on there was a bit of a time squeezeTable 7 Challenges in C24.3 Case study 3The third case study (C3) is based on a Norwegian municipality. They replaced theirself-developed legacy systems with an ERP system called Agresso Business Worldfrom the Dutch software company Unit4 in 2008. The project in C3 focuses on theimplementation of the payroll and human resource (HR) module of the system.The project team consisted of 15 employees from different departments such asprocurement, legal, document, IT, payroll and finance.4.3.1StrengthsBy comparing the interviews, conducted with the project manager and the two projectmembers in C3, a couple of strengths are identified (Table 8). The project in C3 is theonly project in the thesis that has used temporary employment (temp) to lighten theworkload for some of the project members. When employees struggled withincreased responsibilities, the project manager made sure they got assistance fromother members in the team.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 18 of 32Category StrengthsTeamUsed temps to lighten the workload of some project members.People that struggled with increased responsibilities got backup.Nobody had to be replaced.Table 8 Strengths in C34.3.2 ChallengesThe project in C3 also had some challenges (Table 9). One of the team memberssaid in the interview that the team lacked some business knowledge and that theywere too few. The project manager reported that there was no deliberate focus oncross-functionality when the team was put together. Despite bringing in temps tolighten the workload for some of the project members, both of the interviewedmembers reported there had been times where they struggled with to high workload.Both the project manager and one of the team members said there was some lack ofsupport in the beginning of the project because some did not see the value of a newsystem.Category ChallengesSkillsToo few people involved.Lacking knowledge in the team.No focus on cross-functionalityTeamStruggled a bit with the support at first.Struggled with to high workloadsTable 9 Challenges in C34.4 ComparisonAs seen in chapter 3 (Literature review) there are various recommendations excitingon selecting people for ERP implementation projects and IS projects in general. Inthe following sections the findings from the three case studies will be compared tothese recommendations. The recommendations are categorised into the followingthree groups Selection, Skills and Team. The Selection category consists ofrecommendations regarding the need for structural selection process with formalguidelines. The Skills category consists of recommendations saying the teammembers should possess ERP technical knowledge, technology managementknowledge, business functional knowledge, interpersonal skills, team skills and thatthe team should be overlapping and cross-functional. The Team category consists ofrecommendations suggesting the team members should be supportive of the project,cope with increased responsibilities, freed from other time consuming responsibilitiesand that the team should consist of a good combination of personalities.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 19 of 324.4.1SelectionKumar & M.P.Thapliyal expressed the need of formal guidelines when selectingemployees for a technical project (Kumar&M.P.Thapliyal, 2010). This is because, asmentioned in chapter 3, proper system understanding and the ability to provideleadership for the project team is a major reason for ERP implementation failure. Thecomparison between the findings from the case studies and the recommendationsregarding selection of human resources found in literature and past research arepresented in table 10 below. In all three cases the team members were selectedbased primarily on their business experience. The project manager in C2 mentionedhe also emphasized to some extent his professional experience with each employee.One project member in C3 was involved in the project partly because of prior systemexperience. According to this none of the three project managers followed therecommendation from Kumar & M.P. Thapliyal to use a structured selection processinstead they used discretion. André et al. stated that choosing the right candidate tobe involved in a project could be impossible in a large organisation without some kindof decision support system to rely. The comparison between the findings from thecase studies and the recommendations regarding skills found in literature and pastresearch are presented in table 10 below. The organisation in C1 consists of lessthan 150 employees, which should make it possible to get a general overview of allthe candidates without having to use a decision support system. This was also thesituation in C3; according to the project manager they involved 15 out of 25 potentialemployees in their implementation project. Despite the “small” organisation, theproject manager expressed he would have spent more time on building the team andused a more structured selection process if they were to start all over again. In C2 onthe other hand, the organisation consists of about 3400 employees overall. Thiscould pose a problem when the aim is to involve the best and brightest people in theorganisation. Despite this large organisation the project manager seemed to be verypleased with his implementation team and its effort. He also mentioned after theinterview that he would have used a more structured selection process if they were tostart all over again. This, he explained, is because a more structured and formalprocess would have led to a better documented process that would have been usefulnext time a project team is to be put together. The comparison between the casesand the literature is presented in Table 10 below.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 20 of 32Category: SelectionRecommendations from literature CaseAnswered by ProjectManager Answered by Team membersStructured selection process, Formalguidelines1Not formal, based onexperienceBased on experience2Selection on the basis of thecandidates experience andmy experience with them.We used the project scope tofigure out whom we neededin the project.Knowledge, and showedinitiative.3No formal guidelines. Basedon business knowledge.Based on business knowledgeand some system understandingTable 10 Selection comparison4.4.2SkillsSelecting the best and brightest employees with both technical and businessknowledge is necessary when implementing an ERP system. It is also important thatthe team members understand the organisations business requirements and that theteam is cross-functional. The comparison between the findings from the case studiesand the recommendations regarding skills found in literature and past research arepresented in Table 11 below.As mentioned earlier, the project managers in all three cases focused primarily onbusiness functional skills when selecting their team members. This means thefollowing skills found in literature were not taken into consideration when theyselected their team members; ERP technical knowledge, Technology managementknowledge, Interpersonal skills and Team skills. One of the team members in C1stated their team lacked knowledge in relation to carry out such a project and whichknowledge that should be exciting before starting the implementation. Of all the teammembers in the three cases, only one team member in C1 felt it was unnecessary todouble check issues with other members because he/she had an excellentunderstanding of his/her area of expertise. All the other team members in all threeteams often double checked with colleagues before making a decision. A teammember in C2 also stated he/she sometimes triple checked to make sure he/she didthe right thing. The team in C2 was very cross-functional and had a lot of knowledgewithin the project and they also had a good dialogue. In C1 they started out withhaving a lot of knowledge within the team, but this changed when they had to replacesome of the team members due to different reasons. In C3 one of the projectmembers stated the team lacked some business understanding. The comparisonbetween the cases and the literature is presented in Table 9 below.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 21 of 32Category: SkillsRecommendations from literature CaseAnswered by ProjectManagerAnswered by TeammembersERP technical knowledge, Technologymanagement knowledge, Businessfunctional knowledge, Interpersonalskills and team skills. Cross-functional.1Only business. Cross-functional Good business knowledge atfirst but lost some knowledgewhen members got replaced2Business technical skills andsome interpersonal skillsIt was a very strong team! Goodaccess to knowledge. A lot ofdialog with other people.3Business skills. No focus oncross-functionalLacking knowledge in the team.Table 11 Skills comparison4.4.3 TeamThe implementation team in itself is very important in a technical project. It is crucialthat the team members are positive and supportive of the team’s work and that theycan cope with increased responsibilities. It is also important that the team membersare freed from other time consuming responsibilities so they can commit to the teamand the work that it is set to do. The team should also consist of a good combinationof personalities and roles to assure a dynamic team. The comparison between thefindings from the case studies and the recommendations regarding the team found inliterature and past research are presented in table 12 below.In C1 the project manager reported overall good and supportive attitudes throughoutthe project’s lifespan. However there were a few team members that talkedsomewhat negative about the project, but they were slowly phased out to preventthem from poisoning the rest of the team. The project manager and both of the teammembers that was interviewed in C2 claimed all of the team members weresupportive and dedicated to the project. In C3 they had some resistance at firstbecause some of the team members did not see the value of a new system. Thiseventually changed during the project.The project manager in C1 said some of the team members handled increasedresponsibilities, some struggled and a few eventually had to be replaced becausethey could not handle it. In C2 the team members all handled increasedresponsibilities, and the project manager pointed at interesting tasks as the reasonfor this. Some of the team members in C3 also struggled with increasingresponsibilities. It was arranged so that these team members got assistance fromcolleagues to help them handle the responsibility. This way no team members had tobe replaced.As mentioned earlier, the team members in C1 logged hours to help balance the
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 22 of 32workload between daily work tasks and the project tasks. Despite this, the workloadsometimes became too heavy and only some of the team members were freed fromother time consuming responsibilities. Both team members reported that non-projectrelated tasks sometimes got in the way of their responsibilities in the project. Alsosome team members in C2 were freed from other time consuming responsibilities.These members had the project as their first priority. Despite this, other non-projectrelated tasks became time consuming after a while and the participants experienceda time squeeze. In C3 temporary employees was brought in to lighten the workloadfor the employees that was involved in the implementation project. Despite this actionsome of the team members felt they had too much work to do in certain periods ofthe project and one of the interviewed team members meant there were too fewpeople involved in the project. One of the team members said other responsibilitiessometimes got in the way of the project.Having a good combination of personalities in the team was not considered in any ofthe three cases. This means that methods like the MBTI or the 8 Belbin roles werenot used in any of the cases.One of the team members in C1 reported it sometimes was difficult to work withsome of the other team members because they chose to withhold information fromthe rest of the team, which eventually resulted in some additional work. A teammember in C2 experienced some difficulties with different personalities in the team.He/she stated that some team members had a different perception of how processesin the business actually worked, which became a challenge. The team members inC3 did not report any difficulties regarding personalities; the only concern was thatthe average age was a bit too high. The comparison between the cases and theliterature is presented in Table 12 below.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 23 of 32Category: TeamRecommendations from literature CaseAnswered by ProjectManager Answered by Team membersFreed from other time consumingresponsibilities, good combination ofpersonalities, supportive, cope withincreased responsibilities1To some degree freed fromother time consumingresponsibilities. Generallygood support but had toreplace some teammembers. Some handledincreased responsibility andsome did not and had to bepushed and in some casesreplacedSome were freed from other timeconsuming responsibilitiesalthough sometimes it was toomuch work. Some problems withdifferent personalities. Overallgood support/attitude.2To some extent thepersonality, but mostly cross-functionality. We had a largeteam with broad experience.We used the project scope tofigure out whom we neededin the project. Some werefreed and had the project asthe 1st priority. Memberscoped very well withincreased responsibilities.The project was a positiveexperience to work on theproject.There were some challenges.Different shades of opinion ofhow things actually are related.Some, not all were freed fromother time consumingresponsibilities. People werededicated, had good motivationand solution oriented. Sometimesit became too much work.3Some were freed from othertime consumingresponsibilities. Used tempsto lighten the workload forsome. Other colleaguesassisted those who struggledwith increasedresponsibilities. The supportvaried.Too high average age. Some wereoverworked. Otherresponsibilities got in the way ofthe project.Table 12 Team comparison
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 24 of 32CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION, KEY FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONSIn this chapter the overall strengths and challenges, found in the three case studies,and the comparison from chapter 4 are discussed. The final section presentsrecommendations on how to select internal human resources for an ERPimplementation project.5.1 Discussion5.1.1SelectionAs seen in chapter 4 the recommendations to use a structured selection process andformal guidelines have not been used in any of the three cases. Since the number ofpotential team members in C1 and C3 are relatively low there is a reasonable chancethat the project managers could get a good overview and select a good mix ofcandidates without having to use a formal selection process. Despite not having anoverwhelming number of employees to choose from, the project manager in C1 hadto replace some of the team members during the project because they did not benefitthe project’s goal in an adequate matter. Therefore the project manager in C1 statedhe would have spent more time on a structural selection process if he were to start allover again. This could have resulted in better interaction between the team membersand better assure that the team members really understood how the businessprocesses worked.In C2 on the other hand the company consists of around 3500 employees, whichmeans there could be a lot of potential candidates to their project team. Despite thepossibility of many potential candidates the project manager in C2 was very pleasedwith his selection, which was based on discretion and the candidate’s businessexperience. Although the project manager in C2 was very pleased with his team, hestated he would have used a more structured selection process if he were to buildsuch a team again. If he had taken a structured approach he could more easily havedocumented the process, which he and his colleagues would have benefited from inthe future.The project managers in all three cases used discretion with emphasis on thecandidates’ business experience when selecting their team members. Neverthelessthe project managers in C1 and C2 stated that if they had to start all over again theywould have taken a more structured approach when building their implementationteam. C1, which focused on a relative small organisation, compared to C2experienced more challenges related to their team members. This points to a needfor a structured selection process within ERP projects also in smaller organisations.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 25 of 32The project managers in C2 and C3 were very satisfied with their teams despite notusing a structured selection process. Notwithstanding, it is not certain this will be thecase the next time they conduct such a project. By leaving things up to chance andnot documenting their decisions for future reference, the possibility of ending up withthe optimal team is somewhat reduced. As the literature states, the safest thing to dowhen selecting team members for an ERP implementation project is to dedicateenough time to use a structured selection process, which will lead to a gooddocumented result and a thorough investigation of every possible candidate.5.1.2SkillsAmong all the different skills found in literature and past research it was primarily thebusiness functional knowledge that was emphasised in all three cases. The fact thatall three project managers focused on business functional knowledge is no surprisesince implementing an ERP system basically aims at aligning an Information Systemwith an organisations’ many business processes. In none of the three cases wereteam skills, ERP technical knowledge and technology management knowledge acriterion when selecting team members.One of the team members in C1 reported he/she sometimes experienced that teammembers was reluctant to collaborate and that they withheld information from the restof the team. This point to the lack of team skills. A team member in C2 stated a fewof the team members had a wrong perception of how business processes actuallyworked. This was a challenge and led to the decision to cut some aspects of theproject because they did not follow the original plan. This point to the lack of businessfunctional knowledge.The team in C2 was highly cross-functional and possessed a high knowledge withinthe project and they also had a good dialogue among the team members. The projectmanager in C3 said they did not focus on their team being cross-functional. This fitswith the statement of one of the team members, which meant their team lacked somebusiness knowledge. Also this team member meant there were too few peopleinvolved in the project. The team in C1 started out having a good collective set ofknowledge. Unfortunately this changed somewhat as the progress moved forward,and some of the team members had to be replaced due to different reasons(elaborated in the following section). This resulted in the loss of collective knowledgethat had been gained in the team during the early phases of the project.As we see in this section, all three project managers would profit on focusing onmore than just business functional knowledge when selecting their team members,
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 26 of 32especially in C1 and C2. It is understandable that ERP technical knowledge andtechnology management knowledge did not get prioritised, since these types ofskillsets probably are not that common for a general employee. Interpersonal skillsand Team skills on the other hand are skillsets that are easier to obtain and they arecrucial when people are going to work together in a team for an extended period oftime, which usually is the case with an ERP implementation project. The projectmanagers in C1 and C2 should have at least considered Interpersonal skills andTeam skills when selecting their team members.5.1.3TeamSection 4.4.3 shows there have been reported overall good and supportive attitudesthroughout the projects lifespan in all three cases. Although, as mentioned in theprevious section, there were a few team members in C1 that had to be phased out ofthe project. This was partly because they had a very negative attitude towards theproject, and the project manager wanted to prevent the negativity from spreadingacross the rest of the team. Assuring good support from the team members isimportant, however to replace team members is a drastic action since it most likelywill reduce the collective knowledge of the team, which was the case in C1. Insteadof replacing team members one can work to motivate the team and counteract anynegative attitudes as soon as they occur. In C3 there is also seen some variations insupport. Some of the team members did not see the value of a new system at first,nevertheless this changed as the project rolled on. This meant the project managerdid not have to replace any of the team members.Some of the team members in C1 on the other hand had to be replaced due to theirlacking ability to handle increased responsibilities. This situation regarded only a fewteam members. In general the team members in C1 coped very well with increasedresponsibilities. In C2 the project manager was very pleased with how well the teammembers handled increased responsibilities, which he claims is a result of the teammembers getting assigned interesting tasks. Some of the team members in C3 alsohad some challenges related to increased responsibilities. Instead of replacing them,they got assistance from other employees, which helped them to cope with theresponsibilities.There is a similarity in the cases regarding freeing the team members from other timeconsuming responsibilities. In all three cases, some team members were freed fromtasks outside of the project. Nevertheless, team members in all three cases reportedthat non-project related tasks sometimes got in the way of their responsibilities in the
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 27 of 32project. One of the team members in C2 said their time was best managed in thebeginning of the project and that they experienced a time squeeze later on. As seenfrom the findings in all three cases, there have been taken actions to help balancethe time between the project and other work related tasks. The challenge in all threecases was to maintain these actions throughout the whole project lifespan. It isimportant to constantly work to make sure the team members are freed from othertime consuming responsibilities during the whole project lifespan and not only at thestart. As seen in this section, there have been taken actions to balance the workloadin all three cases and in all of them it has been reported too high workloads at certainpoints of the project. This can point to that the actions taken by the project managersat the start of the projects did not work 100% or it could be that the communicationbetween the project managers and the team members was not all that good. How tomaintain a project team is not the focus of this research project and therefore it willnot be discussed further in this thesis.As can be seen in the previous chapter, none of the three project managers focusedon the combination of personalities when they built their team. This posted somechallenges in both C1 and C2.5.2 Key findingsThe three case studies in this research project are different in size, business areaand ERP system. Despite these differences there are some similarities between thethree. Notwithstanding the recommendations found in literature and past research,none of the three project managers used a structured process when selecting teammembers for their implementation team. Team skills, interpersonal skills, ERPtechnical knowledge and technology management knowledge were not criteria for theteam members in any of the cases. All three projects faced some challenges makingsure the team members were freed from other time consuming responsibilities duringthe whole project lifespan. From C1 one can also see that replacing team memberscan affect the collective knowledge of a team.5.3 RecommendationsIt is important to stress that the findings from the ERP implementation projects acrossthe three case studies may be unique for each of the subjected organisations.Despite this, the findings, combined with the recommendations found in literature andpast research, make the ground for the recommendations in the thesis. Therecommendations are collectively presented in Table 13 at the end of this chapter.The thesis recommends using adequate time to build a good internal implementation
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 28 of 32team before commencing an implementation of an ERP system. When selectingteam members it will be beneficiary to use a structured selection process, which theproject managers in both C1 and C2 also recommended. The criteria in such aselection process should be based on skillsets such as Business knowledge,Interpersonal skills and Team skills. This will result in team members that know thebusiness and its processes well and who also know how to interact with otheremployees and work as a team. ERP technical skills and technology managementskills are also recommended in literature and past research. These skillsets aredefinitely an advantage, however in literature they are recommended as skills forgraduates who are perusing a career in ERP systems. It can be harder to find suchskillsets among employees that does not have a background in informationsystems/technology.It is important that the team is cross-functional like in C1 and C2. Therefore it isimportant to make sure that every business area of an organisation is represented inthe team. Since the team will gain a collective set of knowledge during the projectlifecycle, it is important that this knowledge is kept in the team. This means striving tomaintain the original team composition during the entire project lifecycle, as in C2and C3. One should try to avoid replacing team members, as it will most likely lead tothe loss of collective knowledge in the team, which was the case in C3.Team members need to be supportive of the project from the very beginning. Thiswas not the case in C1 and to some extent in C3, which posted challenges.Therefore the project managers need to motivate the team members and counteractany negative attitudes as soon as they occur to prevent the negativity from spreadingacross the team.The combination of different personalities and roles are also important when buildinga team, which is why this thesis recommends using methods like the MBTI and the 8Belbin roles to help optimize such combinations.When selecting the team members it is also essential to make sure they are freedfrom other time consuming responsibilities outside of the project. This meanschecking with the department managers who are responsible for the employee’s dailytasks, if this is possible. One can use temporary employees to lighten the workload,which was done in C3. These actions have to be maintained during the entire projectlifecycle. It is also necessary that the team members report to the project managerwhen the workload is getting too heavy. If these actions are not followed it can resultin a time squeeze and even overworked employees. This was partly the situation inall three cases.
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 29 of 32Category: Recommendation:SelectionUse adequate time to build a good internalimplementation team.Use a structured selection process when selectingteam members.SkillsThe criteria in the selection process should be basedon skillsets such as business knowledge, interpersonalskills and team skills.Make sure that every business area of an organisationis represented in the team.The project manager should always strive to maintainthe original team composition during the entireproject lifecycle to avoid losing valuable knowledge.TeamMotivate the team and counteract any negativeattitudes as soon as they occur to prevent thenegativity from spreading across the team.Use methods like the MBTI and the 8 Belbin roles tooptimize the combination of personalities and rolesMake sure that the team members can be freed fromother time consuming responsibilities outside of theproject and make sure that this action is maintainedduring the entire project lifecycle.Table 13 Recommendations
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 30 of 32CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION6.1 Concluding summaryOne of the first things a company needs to do when they are going to implement anERP system is to establish an internal implementation team. Many books andresearch papers have been written on which skills that are important to possess bythe team members, how they should be selected and critical success factors relatedto this. The thesis focuses on combining these recommendations and critical factorsand sum up how to best select team members for an ERP implementation project. Aqualitative approach was taken and three case studies were conducted to investigatehow three Norwegian companies have done such a process. Semi-structuredinterviews were used to gather data from project managers and team members in thethree companies. The data was structured into tables making it easier to compare therecommendations found in literature and past research. Key findings were presentedand examples of such findings are that none of the project managers used astructured process when selecting team members. Team skills, interpersonal skills,ERP technical knowledge and technology management knowledge were not criteriafor the team members in any of the cases. At last recommendations were made; thethesis recommends using adequate time to build a good internal implementationteam. When selecting team members it will be beneficiary to use a structuredselection process. The criteria in such a selection process should be based onskillsets such as business knowledge, interpersonal skills and team skills. It isimportant to make sure every business area of an organisation is represented in theteam to make it cross-functional. The project manager should always strive tomaintain the original team composition during the entire project lifecycle to avoidlosing valuable knowledge. The project manager has to make sure that the teammembers are supportive and counteract any negative attitudes as soon as theyoccur. Finally, it is important to make sure the team members are freed from othertime consuming responsibilities during their involvement in the implementationproject.6.2 Research contributionsThis master thesis has investigated how three Norwegian companies in differentbusiness areas have selected team members for their internal implementation teamswhen implementing an ERP system. The findings have been presented andcompared to recommendations found in literature and past research. Based on thiscomparison the thesis has presented recommendations on how to best select
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 31 of 32internal team members and maintain the implementation team when implementing anERP system. This will lead to a bigger and more quantitative research that canstatistically validate these trends and therefore further benefit academia. It will also beuseful within industry, since it will help companies to realise the impact of selectinginternal human resources and give them recommendations on how to do this.6.3 LimitationsNo research is perfect and this thesis is no exception. The findings presented in thethesis are not statistically generalisable since it only studies three case studies.Therefore the findings may not apply in other organisations. Only Norwegiancompanies have been investigated and business cultures in other countries may notsuit the recommendations represented in the thesis.One of the predefined questions asked the team members whether they preferred todouble-check issues with other colleagues outside of the project. This was meant toindicate whether the interview object had the required business knowledge. Only oneof the six team members across the three cases felt there was no need to double-check with other colleagues before making a decision. This question turned out to beambiguous since the outcome could indicate that this one person had full control andthe other did not, nevertheless it could also indicate that the five other team membersalso were in full control but double-checked as a safety measure. Because of theuncertainty regarding this question it was not given any attention in the analysis.The number of interview objects became less than desired to get a representativeselection of the team members across the three case studies.Limitations occur when interviewing people that are not objective. There are alwaysthe possibility that the interview objects are not 100% truthful when answeringquestions that reflects their own contribution and abilities.There are mentioned a few actions that should be maintained throughout a projectlifecycle in this thesis. This has not been the primary focus of the research projectand therefore not mentioned in detail and referenced to literature and past research.6.4 Future researchAs mentioned in the previous section, by conducting this research project, futureresearch can focus on a bigger and more quantitative research that can statisticallyvalidate the findings presented in this thesis.Future research can also focus on creating a framework for the structured selectionprocess that is recommended in the thesis and test it in real life ERP implementationprojects. A future research can also increase the focus to include companies from
SELECTING INTERNAL TEAM MEMBERS WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP SYSTEMDissertation Task 4 1039030Page 32 of 32several nations instead of just focusing on Norwegian companies. By doing so thefocus will expand beyond the Norwegian organisational culture.This thesis mentions a few actions that should be maintained throughout a project lifecycle. This can be investigated more in-depth in future research since it has not beenthe core focus of this research project.6.5 Personal ReflectionsSome of the strengths and weaknesses in regards to working on this masterdissertation will be presented in this section. Getting companies to contribute to thisresearch project, as case studies, seemed to be very easy at the beginning of theproject. This led me not to investigate in depth which resources were available forinterviews in each company. As the months passed, one after the other could notcontribute with the required resources. This delayed the data collection part of theproject at least one month and the number of interview objects had to be less thandesired. If I had investigated each case study company more in depth at initialcontact, I would have found suitable companies at a much earlier point in the projectand could have started the data collection much earlier.Before starting on my master degree I worked on an ERP implementation project,which gave me great insight into challenges related to such a project. Thisexperience was really helpful and gave me some perspective during my researchproject.
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