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Looking to implement an enterprise resource planning system? Then you need to understand what an ERP project manager does, why hiring one is important, and how to choose the best fit for your organization.

An ERP project manager handles the planning, implementation, and maintenance of an ERP solution. I want to help you get familiar with this role, to set you up for successful ERP deployment.

ERP Project Manager Job Overview

An ERP project manager is responsible for managing the ERP implementation life cycle and ensuring that it meets organizational goals.

This professional coordinates with project stakeholders like IT staff, department leaders, and software vendors to gather requirements, create execution plans, allocate resources, and manage timelines for ERP deployment, integration, and optimization.

ERP project managers ensure the project stays within the predetermined budget, scope, and schedule—without falling short of expected quality standards. They also find and mitigate potential risks, troubleshoot issues, and share periodic progress reports and analytics with senior management.

Beyond technical expertise, an ERP project manager needs strong communication, leadership, and organizational skills as they try to walk the fine line between all involved parties.

ERP Project Manager Key Responsibilities

An ERP project manager is the ultimate multitasker, turning the chaos of any ERP implementation project into order. Here's a look at their main responsibilities that keep everything running smoothly.

Primary ERP Project Manager Responsibilities

An ERP project manager is primarily responsible for: 

1. Implementation Planning and Execution

ERP project managers kickoff ERP projects by developing detailed plans and outlining the project scope, timeline, and budget. They are also responsible for defining, documenting, and meeting implementation goals.

2. Stakeholder Coordination

An ERP project manager works closely with and facilitates collaboration among various project stakeholders, from executive teams to department managers, IT personnel, consultants, and end-users.

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3. Testing and Risk Management

ERP project managers oversee ERP testing to uncover potential risks and develop proactive mitigation strategies. They troubleshoot issues as they come up, and tweak project plans accordingly.

4. End-User Training and Support

To ensure smooth rollout and optimal user adoption, ERP project managers conduct training sessions and provide ongoing support to end-users. They address any arising issues or concerns, helping end users get comfortable and proficient with the new system.

5. System Monitoring and Upgrades

Post-implementation, ERP project managers are in charge of continuously monitoring system performance and managing required upgrades. They consider user feedback and changing business needs to make improvements that maintain and boost system performance.

Secondary ERP Project Manager Responsibilities

ERP project managers also:

  • Monitor project expenses and manage allocated financial resources effectively.
  • Supervise quality control processes to meet required standards and specifications.
  • Maintain in-depth documentation and report to senior management on project plans, deliverables, and changes for transparency and accountability.
  • Collaborate with ERP software (and supporting platform) vendors for timely service delivery and hands-on technical support.
  • Execute change management strategies to help organizations adapt to new technologies and business processes.
  • Ensure ERP systems comply with key regulations and standards to prevent legal issues.
  • Conduct post-implementation reviews to assess project success and note lessons for future schemes.

Why Hire an ERP Project Manager?

A dedicated ERP project manager will keep your ERP project from going off the rails. Need to justify hiring one to your team members or senior management? Just give them this list of reasons:

1. They Ensure Comprehensive Project Oversight

With an ERP project manager, you won’t get stuck with a group of people pointing fingers at each other every time something goes wrong.

"The Blame Game". A graphic showing three people pointing at one another.
No, see, it isn't Spiderman... so it's an original meme. Right?

Your project manager pays attention to both the granular details and the bigger picture, supervising project planning alongside change management, keeping implementation on track and ensuring the new ERP system fits snugly into your company’s processes.

2. They Have System Expertise

When you hire an ERP project manager that already has experience implementing your ERP system of choice and its supporting software, your organization reaps the rewards.

  • They’re familiar with typical software bottlenecks and how to fix them
  • They’ll have expert tips and tricks for working with software providers, accessing technical support promptly, and ensuring all ERP components are functioning correctly
  • They’re best positioned to oversee existing system upgrades and notifications.

3. They’re Experienced Leaders and Communicators

As successful implementation and subject-matter experts, ERP project managers are adept at coaching and leading ERP specialists and consultants. They possess excellent stakeholder management and communication skills, fostering smooth project team collaboration and productivity.

These skills also make them perfect for managing risks and coming up with mitigation strategies to keep the implementation process within scope.

4. They Facilitate On-Time and On-Budget Implementation

Drawing on their experience across multiple projects, ERP project managers know what the common pitfalls are and how to avoid them. They’ll keep your project on track so you can complete it within the set timeline and budget.

5. They Enhance Initial User Adoption and Continued Use

ERP project managers offer end-user training and post-implementation support to help them easily adjust to, and get the maximum value from, the new system. 

They also monitor the system’s performance after go-live, noting user feedback and changing organizational needs to make continuous improvements.

How To Choose an ERP Project Manager

It’s possible for an existing employee to take on the role of an ERP project manager. However, assigning this role to someone internal has its downsides, including:

  • Lack of specific ERP project management experience and expertise which can potentially lead to delays, increased costs, adoption resistance, and subpar project outcomes.
  • Their regular duties and responsibilities can divide their attention, making it hard for them to prioritize and be dedicated to the success of your ERP project.
  • Internal employees may have personal biases or be influenced by organizational politics, limiting their ability to identify issues and make impartial decisions.

So honestly, unless you have the perfect candidate internally, choose an external ERP project manager. 

When choosing who to go with, here are a few factors to consider before extending an offer.

1. Take Note of Their Technological Specialty

All ERP systems have their own unique deployment steps, methodologies, and ecosystem of implementation partners.

Improve your project’s chances of success by selecting an ERP project manager who has experience with your chosen system, whether that’s SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, or any other ERP solution.

Beyond previous experience with your company’s ERP system, also check that they are experts at integrating with supporting apps and modules like specific CRMs, cashflow automation tools, and HR software.

2. Think About Their Industry Specialty

Your industry determines what your company’s ERP requirements are. 

And while you won’t always see ERP systems marketed as industry-specific, a quick assessment of their website and offerings will help you clearly identify their specialty.

For example, the ERP solution for a manufacturing company will be widely different from one for a logistics team. This is why it’s important to choose an ERP project manager who understands the complexities that come with implementing an ERP system in your industry. 

3. Make Sure They’re a Good Cultural Fit

The ERP project manager you choose will be the link between your organization and vendors or implementation consultants. So, ensuring that they’re a good cultural fit with the rest of your company is non-negotiable.

Much like hiring for any other role, these three tips will help you recruit a culturally fitting ERP project manager:

  • Ask about their value systems and how they will react to specific scenarios.
  • Pay attention to how they answer your questions, including non-verbal cues.
  • Share your company’s leadership structure and organizational practices to see if they’re comfortable with them.

ERP Project Manager Salary

The salary of an ERP project manager depends on various factors like location, skill level, and years of experience. Recruitment data across the web shows that the role can have quite a range (as low as $65,000, all the way up to $205,000)... but that doesn’t really help.

Specifically, ZipRecruiter reports that the average pay for ERP project managers in the USA is about $134,000 per year, or $65 per hour. At the same time, Indeed data shows that the average ERP project manager makes a little over $108,000 as base salary in the United States.

Drawing from this, I’d tell you to expect to pay in the $110-130k/year range.

Hire the Right ERP Project Manager for Your Organization

Now the theory part is out of the way, let’s be real. 

Finding candidates who meet all (or at least enough) of the relevant ERP project management criteria and are available at a convenient starting time without access to specialized databases is difficult.

This is where staffing consultants, agencies, or employment marketplaces come in. Once you outline your requirements, these experts can help you shortlist suitable candidates for assessment and subsequent hiring.

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Simon Litt
By Simon Litt

Simon Litt is the editor of The CFO Club, specializing in covering a range of financial topics. His career has seen him focus on both personal and corporate finance for digital publications, public companies, and digital media brands across the globe.