ERP development in Asia

In 1996 Unilever discovered that the ERP systems used in most of our East Asian businesses was not Y2K compliant. In cooperation with several other multi-nationals we commissioned a new version of the software from the supplier.

My first involvement was to organise acceptance testing of the new version before work started on the extensive modifications we planned to apply. We quickly realised that our normal tests scripts would not confirm Y2K compliance and so a new approach was developed. Having completed this work I was asked to replace the overall project manager who had resigned from the business. I found a project in disarray: it was running late, communications had been poor, key functionality was not working and the countries were getting very nervous. Some compromises on scope and prioritisation on key issues got the project back on track.

From this project I learnt the importance of clear communication, especially with senior stakeholders, and how to manage people who know their subject much better than me.