How to make fail your e-Sourcing project?

Success or failure.You are planning to equip your company with an e-Sourcing solution, as do any contemporary Purchasing organizations. As some, you maybe have a powerful desire to succeed your project; or like others, perhaps you rather prefer doing everything to make it fail?

If you make the second choice, then do not hesitate to carefully apply the following well advised tips. These tips result from actual experiences, thus they guarantee the failure of your e-Sourcing project. And please, do not do things by halves: the greater the number of tips applied, the more resounding your failure will be, and the longer your recovery period will be.

To well prepare your failure, take care to make carefully fail the three following components: (1) the management per se of your project, (2) the selection of the solution; and, of course, (3) the operational implementation of the solution.

Making fail the way you will manage your project

  1. Do not develop any project charter. This would clarify too much the challenges and the objectives of the project, would oblige you to estimate the value that the e-Sourcing solution would bring, and finally would provide you with the tangible elements you could rely on to demonstrate the added value to your executive committee and thus get their approval to engage the project.
  2. Do not appoint a project manager. If a clearly designated person managed both human and financial resources, you would risk too much achieving a good outcome.
  3. Do everything, from the outset, so that none member of the Company Executive Committee has the role of project sponsor. Such a sponsor would make the project too legitimate, would be a too good support for the project manager and – who knows – would even go up to take the strategic decisions that the project manager could suggest.
  4. Do not rely on any project management methodology. Even if there is a simple one that would perfectly fit to the context and the size of your project; this would be a pity as it might force you to conduct a structured thought that (for example) would enable you to prevent risks you absolutely do not want to control.
  5. Or, better, go for a methodology oversized relative to the volume of your project. Why not, for example, selecting a project management methodology for ERP? Such a choice will enable you to discover the delight of navigating in beautiful administrative heavinesses which will prevent you to focus on more concrete activities that could make progress your project more efficiently.
  6. Do not develop a communication plan. Whatever the project challenge and whatever your motivations, the employees, especially those directly concerned by the project, will know enough (when the time will come) about the ins and outs of the project and, after all, they will just need to adapt themselves to the new situation. 
  7. Underestimate, indeed even ignore the Change Management dimension. You’d better make things lightly, move forward according to your mood, make your decisions alone and unilaterally; why asking their opinions to others and in particular to future end users? Those will be grateful you have thought and decided for them about what would make their happiness.
  8. Finally, during all the project, do not listen to your common sense. Besides, taking a step back from time to time to observe how you have progressed and what remains to be done might lead you to correct a trajectory doomed to failure, that is to say the exact opposite of what you are looking for.

Making fail the way you will select the solution

  1. Generally, do not opt for any approach that could lead to the selection of an IT solution that would cover the « just right » need of the company.
  2. Do not develop specifications of the functions you « just » need; this would in particular prevent you from oversizing this need. Why depriving yourself of a huge luxury liner and its imposing crew whilst a handy little yacht would be enough to perfectly lead you where you need to go? And therefore, why indeed depriving yourself to spend more whilst you can spend less? Why prefering at advance a simple and fast implementation whilst you can rather envisage a real and painful obstacle course that would delight your troop of users?
  3. Do not take time to analyze the e-Sourcing market, nor directly yourself, neither with the support of a competent partner. Doing so might lead you (1) to understand too much well the segmentation of the e-Sourcing solutions as well as their positioning vis-a-vis of the e-Procurement solutions, (2) to correctly situate your need on the appropriate segment and (3) to identify the right providers of those solutions.
  4. Blindly orient yourself, whether you have the means or not, towards a big vendor. Even if the solution you propose is a gasworks, never mind if – at the end – the users scold, you will easily explain to them that, after all, this is a « strategic choice » and that they will have to comply; such a speech is still very trendy especially in major groups, so feel free to take it.
  5. Therefore, resolutely do not steer you towards a smaller vendor in size. Such a vendor could indeed offer a more agile solution that would make faster and more efficient the daily work of your users. As a very bad example not to follow, especially do not adopt a solution such as eSRM.
  6. Do not build a specific team for the selection phase, or make sure the team has no end users representative. Such a representative, especially if he/she is integrated early in the project, would look at the functions in a so accurate and pragmatic way that the final choice might be oriented toward a solution that would suit too much to the future users.
  7. Do not ask your company executive committe to validate/approve the final choice of the solution. You would then be too legitimated in the approach, and the final choice would risk to be seen as a coherent choice of the company.

Making fail your approach of operational implementation

  1. If this has not been initiated upstream in the project, don’t tell yourself you still have time to develop a Change Management approach. Listening to your future users and doing everything that could make them understand by themselves the benefits that the new e-Sourcing solution could bring them, might too easily promote the acceptance and the adoption of this solution.
  2. Do no develop a training plan or, at least, make it complex. Developing a curriculum simple and adapted to the various users profiles (sourcing specialist, procurement manager, procurement financial controller, prescriber, lawyer, supplier, …) might lead the users appropriate the solution too easily and too sustainably.
  3. In the case where the number of people concerned is high, do not plan any train-the-trainers (or key-users) session. Otherwise, the roll-out of the solution might be too easy and, therefore, the risk of setting-up a technical & functional autonomous support system within the company might be too high.  

You aim a brilliant failure of your e-Sourcing project? Nothing is more simple: apply quietly & carefully all of the above 18 tips. And of course, if you wish, feel free to contact us for an exchange!

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