The Goldilocks Paradigm

Challenged or failed ERP projects continue to be a plague and demand a shift in the industry. Why do we continue to embrace the “tried and true” sales and implementation processes? It’s time we focus inward and select a better implementation partner. With more than 30 years’ experience in the sales and implementation of ERP software, even I find this a bit uncomfortable.

During my career, I’ve worked with more than a dozen software vendors, hundreds of clients, and I’ve seen or been involved with every imaginable partner model. I’ve discovered the sweet spot for maximizing partner efficiency and refer to it as the “Goldilocks Paradigm.”

In a previous post, The Myth of the Big Important Partner, I describe in detail the internal and external forces that plague large implementation partners and the reasons for their continued project failures. These dynamics lead to a fundamental but unspoken conflict between partner and client in which the interests of both parties never align.

The client, or ERP project, needs dependable great resources, but the big partner will never be able to deliver them consistently. The small firm that does deliver exceptional service often grows quickly and sees a corresponding decline in the quality of their project delivery as a result.

In the ERP implementation industry, an entire sub-ecosystem of small firms and impendent contractors exist with the sole purpose of “mopping up” and servicing challenged or failed ERP projects. It is only a lack of “net-new” sales that keeps them anonymous.

The best of these companies has a cohesive team that has worked together on multiple projects for many years. They manage to combine the best of both worlds: The ability to deliver on a consistent basis an implementation team composed of senior resources that the one-man band or big partner couldn’t deliver.

This point was driven home to me in a recent Wall Street Journal article. In his post, Why Companies Should Hire Teams, Not Individuals, Dr. Sidney Finkelstein, the Director of the Tuck Center for Leadership at Dartmouth College focuses on internal hiring practices, but these benefits also apply to hiring an ERP project company:

  • Confidence that the new employees will work well together
  • Lower risk that any individual won’t be as strong as advertised

“Existing groups work well together, they contribute more quickly, and they are more likely to shake things up (in a good way).”  Dr. Sidney Finkelstein

The big partner can’t deliver the resources needed on a consistent basis and the individual practitioner does not have the bandwidth either in skill set or available hours to successfully staff large, complex projects.

Enter the proven team. The one that fits “just right” as the Goldilocks Paradigm suggests.

The ideal team may be small, but they are flexible. They are a team of senior resources who have worked together on multiple projects over many years. They are “big enough” to deliver a project team with sufficient resources to complete sophisticated projects.

When you discover that the big partner chair is too big or you break the tiny chair of the independent consultant, talk to us about finding the right fit for your project.  Our group of Dynamic Architects is ready to answer your ERP questions.

About the Author

Peter Joeckel - Author PhotoPeter Joeckel, with more than thirty years in the ERP business helping companies select and implement software solutions, is in a unique position to offer alternative solutions for “tried and failed” ERP software selection and implementation strategies. Whether you’re in the middle of a challenged implementation or just beginning to research available resources, contact Peter and the TurnOnDynamics team today.

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