Choosing agile or plan-driven enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations -- A study on 21 implementations from 20 companies

Lucas Gren, Alexander Wong, Erik Kristoffersson

Agile methods have gotten a good reputation for managing projects in many different sectors. A challenge among practitioners in the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) domain, is to decide if an agile method is suitable or not for new projects. This study investigates how decision-makers select between agile and plan-driven ERP implementation projects in relation to known factors from previous research. We selected projects that the decision-makers assessed as successful, but borderline, agile and plan-driven projects already implemented and let project managers fill out a survey consisting of key agile or plan-driven characteristics. We found that the assessment made by decision-makers did not differ on any aspects except higher executive buy-in for process change, and the prioritization of low cost in the agile projects. This study highlights the difficulty in selecting implementation strategy for a large part of the ERP implementations, and the data show that the decision-makers could not make such a decision at an early point in time without contextual knowledge.

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