Author and professor Jared Diamond published an essay in The New York Times some time ago called “That Daily Shower Can Be a Killer.” In this essay, Diamond argues “the importance of being attentive to hazards that carry a low risk each time but are encountered frequently.” He points out that Americans do the opposite – we overestimate the risk from events that are beyond our immediate control and underestimate the risk from events that are within our control.
American baseball seems to me to be an exception to this tendency. In baseball, it’s often said that the team that masters the routine play wins the game. While it’s exciting to see a spectacular diving catch, it’s a good bet that same player has spent a lot more time drilling on more routine plays than diving. The team that doesn’t execute well on the routine plays has little hope of making up for this with their superior ability to make great barehanded double plays.
The same is true for ERP implementations. The biggest risk to successfully getting things done isn’t the failure to handle the 2-10% of transactions that are exceptions. It’s the failure to deliver well on that 90-98% of the transactions that should be a routine play. And yet, at the start of a new project or during the evaluation phase for a new project, risks that are relatively uncommon — but could cause devastating consequences — may get undeserved attention, while frequently occurring low-risk hazards may be all but brushed off.
It’s human nature that we want to find solutions to the toughest or most unique problems. It’s a challenge, and most of us enjoy overcoming challenges. But, if you really want a successful ERP implementation, keep your eye on how you can consistently execute on the routine plays.
Want some tips? Check out this blog post – “Recommendations for an ERP Implementation or ERP Upgrade”.
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