The ERP Game (For two or more teams)

A few years ago I wrote this on my own blog Equipment Management and Technology, it has been a great success so I thought I would share it here. It is only a joke of course (sort of) and good to laugh at the lighter side of what we do.  The ERP game has grown in popularity since the end of the 1980’s. Today a growing number of teams all over the world play the game.

Despite the surge in popularity, there is no record of the rules of the game. Therefore, for the first time, here is a guide to the unwritten rules of The ERP Game.

The Players

The Home Side – Traditionally consists of people from a “client” organization. The team members often have some experience in IT, and some of them will have participated in at least one game prior to kick off. The Home Team also includes experts in managing The Game.

However, it is normal practice not to have too many subject matter experts in the Home Team. If they are included then it is normally as an adviser or reviewer, a role designed to make sure they do not interfere with the playing of the game with irrelevant business related issues.

The Away Side – There are usually two or three Away Teams; the ones that start the Game, the ones that Finish the Game and the ones that manage the Game.

The initial Away team is usually comprised of seasoned game players. Veterans of many games through the years and well versed in the rules of the game. It is customary to replace these with less experienced players after the start of the game.

The Away Side is the only team in the Game to have a comprehensive playbook of past games.

The Rules

  • The Home team is obliged to change some or all of the requirements of the game at any time (Home team advantage)
  • The Away team can change one or all of the team players for lesser experienced people at any time after the beginning of the game
  • The Away team must try to point out obscure reasons in the contract to limit the playing of the game
  • Withholding funds by the Home Team can stall the Game but is a valid maneuver
  • Stopping work by the Away team is a valid but risky maneuver which could mean the end of the Game
  • "Configuration” shall be defined by the Away team and will take whatever amount of time they deem necessary for this Game
  • "Availability of resources” shall be defined by the Home team and the Away team will accept their decision
  • The Away team will use the word “scope” continually when defending recent plays
  • The Home team will at all times attempt to bypass the “scope” rule through any tactic necessary
  • At no time will the Home team be fully aware of the definition of “Scope” within the Game; if this happens then the Game is forfeit by the Away Side.
  • “Functionality” will be defined by the Away team in very narrow terms
  • The Away team shall attribute any delays, failures, or lack of progress to issues related to the Home teams lack of experience and preparedness. At no time, will the Away team take responsibility for any issues of this nature.
  • The Home side will always ensure that the team managers see the Game as successful regardless of the opinions of others in the company
  • The Away side will always refer to the plan as "dynamic"

Winning the Game

The ERP Game is one of the only games in the world where each Team has different criteria for winning. However, neither Team can let on that they have different goals and it is traditional to talk incessantly about a win-win.

Neither team can ever let on that they are winning.

The Away Team

  • The Away Team wins if they earn more than they originally quoted to play the Game.
  • Sales of extra software, functionality or services by the Away team will earn them bonus points.
  • The Away team can only lose the game if they spend more than they earn for the game.

The Home Team

  • The Home team wins the Game if they get what they wanted without paying more money. (The Home Team doesn’t normally win the game.)
  • There are many ways that the Home team can lose the Game
  • Successful adoption of the system by the users in the company will earn bonus points for both teams, but this is very rare.

Talking about the Game

Traditionally both Teams to refer to the Game as a success regardless of who wins.

This is often supported by a practice known as Creative Reporting; a skill that players seem to develop only after they have spent millions of dollars.

Where applicable these reports can be published and used at conferences to demonstrate how well the teams were able to play the Game.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­After the successful completion of a Game, either side can call for a rematch often termed an “upgrade”. This is common among evenly matched teams or where the Away side has won easily.