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ISSN : 1598-7248 (Print)
ISSN : 2234-6473 (Online)
Industrial Engineering & Management Systems Vol.19 No.1 pp.242-253

The Effects of PMBOK Knowledge Areas on the Phases of ERP Implementation

Mohammad Khalilzadeh*, Ali Mohammad Alikhani
CENTRUM Católica Graduate Business School (CCGBS), Lima, Peru Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), Lima, Peru
Department of Industrial Engineering, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
*Corresponding Author, E-mail:
September 19, 2019 December 3, 2019 December 9, 2019


The main current issue in Iran is the lack of standard mechanism in order to implement a successful ERP projects based on the project management’s standards. In this paper, in addition to the views of the customer team (client), the views of the executing team (implementer) and the views of project management specialists were also considered. Expansion of the community created a better position for analysis. The Necessity/Implementation matrix is presented and the critical knowledge aspects are defined through the theoretical studies within this field and an analytical evaluation of standard inputs and outputs in PMBOK. Furthermore, the matrix is implemented by an evaluation of the importance of knowledge management during the variance phases within the implementation. The additional factor is the employer’s view on the extend of how the knowledge is translated into practical and systematical solutions. Comparing methodology of two ERP projects as case study, and PMBOK knowledge areas as standard of project management, shows the critical knowledge areas based on the opinion of team of experts, the implementer team and the employers. Subsequently, the reasons for the criticality of each area of knowledge are analyzed.



    The rapid and accurate distribution of infor-mation in large organizations, and tending sudden and sometimes arbitrary activities and decisions towards systems based on commonly accepted standards, is one of the most important factors in the success of the organization. Basically, the scope of information and data exchanged in large factories and enterprises is such that it is not possible to ensure the integrity of the information in the absence of an integrated information system, and often the extracted reports are influenced by specific conditions and different interpretations of the various providers, and may mislead management in the analysis of data and the adoption of appropriate decisions.

    Today, advances in communications and infor-mation technology gift the digital economy and e-commerce to the world and this new phenomenon has made the competition to stay in the cycle of the economy very difficult. In such a situation, only those organizations have the ability to stay and win that prepared themselves for this challenge and take the necessary measures to accept the transformation quickly and accurately.

    There are several means to mechanize an organization as an integrated form, i.e. the creation of a comprehensive information system. For example, the required systems are generated by a comprehensive study of the information flow and work processes in the organization, design of databases, and programming. The above procedure is very time-consuming and cost-effective. But by selecting ERP software packages, you can choose a shortcut way and benefit from it. In this method, instead of programming and creating a specific information system for an organization, information systems and predefined standard programs are used.

    ERP means the enterprise resources planning (firm), the simple concept of which is “a software solu-tion that tries to define and create all the activities of different organizational units (including queues and headquarters) as an integrated form in a single software system, so that those units can receive their work and information needs.” But scientifically, ERP is a software package and a system that mechanizes the organization's work processes by applying an integrated business environment, data and integrated databases, and integrated programming language in finan-cial/sales/purchasing/warehouse/production and human resources.

    ERP software suite is the result of more than 40 years of experience and try and error, and due to continuous improvement in the techniques of organization management and the rapid growth of information technology, this software package has also grown and evolved along with it. These standard packages can easily be implemented and deployed in any organization within a relatively short time that will only be used to localize the system.


    The use of information systems that can cover all of the activities and tasks in an organization and provide the necessary information to the users in a timely manner is a vital tool in today’s organizations.

    Due to the novelty of the subject literature and the fact that the field of ERP systems seems to be new discussions, the literature review of the subject, which covers both ERP systems and the control of the project and the process of deploying these systems, is not an old argu-ment.

    2.1 Factors Affecting the Success and Fail-ure of ERP Systems Execution

    “Effective project management is crucial for ERP execution” (Umble et al., 2003). In 1999, Bingi et al. (1999) found that “the lack of proper understanding of project requirements and the inability to provide leadership and guidance to the project” is a major factor in the failure of ERP execution. Thus, effective project management should be clearly defined in the objectives of the project, which develops this work and resource plan and carefully pulls the project forward (Bingi et al., 1999). Fotso and Edoun (2017) investigated the management of ERP projects through critical skills assessment of a project manager and synthesis model of project lifecycle.

    According to Helo et al. (2008) “Unlike other information systems, the main problems with ERP execution are not just technology issues, such as the complexity of technology, compatibility, standardization, etc., but often are organizations and human resources issues such as resistance to change, organizational culture, inconsistent and inaccurate processes of business, mismanagement of projects, senior management commitment, etc.” (Hello et al., 2008). Huang et al. introduced the ten risk factors that led to the failure of ERP execution. These ten factors are: senior manager's lack of commitment, ineffective communication with users, inadequate training for end users, lack of user guidance and support, lack of effec-tive project management practices, attempting to make the connection to old software, incompatibility and conflict between users of different sectors, the combination of members of the project team, the failure to redesign the business process, misunderstanding of the required changes. These risk factors reflect various organizational considerations: organizational fitness, skill mixing and integration, project management and control, software system design, training and user involvement, and technology planning (Rao, 2002). In Table 1 and Table 2, a division is presented based on success factors and failure factors in the execution of ERP systems.

    2.2 Roadmap and Methodologies Applied in ERP Execution

    ERP is a multi-faceted information system that helps the organization to develop robust operation, better performance, better decision-making, and achieve competitive advantage. The advantages of an ERP system are not easy to achieve, and technology and social efforts are needed to implement it. Activists should be conducted and guided to implement the ERP system with a continuous road map. In order to successfully implement the ERP system for achieving competitive advantages, the activists require a comprehensive roadmap that applies the project management approach. But studies show that there is very little research in the area of roadmap for ERP execution that uses the knowledge areas of the project and its centralized processes. Therefore, further research is needed in this area. A roadmap will respond to three questions:

    • Where do we want to go?

    • Where are we currently?

    McGuinness and Huang have provided a new perspective on knowledge management and continuous improvement in their study. They believe that most information system researches stop ERP execution in the starting process and rarely come to the final execution issue. Although ERP is a continuous improvement, ongoing efforts after the start of the system will affect the success of implementing the entire ERP system. In this research, four phases are defined for ERP and the proposed model is combined with knowledge management. They believe that this increased knowledge model leads to a greater insight into the success of implementing ERP systems, and is also a guide for practitioners in this area (Chofreh et al., 2014).

    Ghafareh et al. (2014) in their research have re-viewed road maps for implementing ERP in recent years and have identified research gaps for expanding future works. Literature review studies indicate that road maps in the execution of ERP systems have not used a comprehensive project management, including 9 knowledge area and process groups, as a methodology for this complex project. Therefore, there is a need for research, a road map for implementing ERP to help those activists in this area. In Table 3, a summary of the reviewed articles is provided in terms of the type of road map and the areas of knowledge and process concentration.

    2.3 Introduction of Some Common Method-ologies for ERP Execution

    2.3.1 ASAP Methodology

    SAP Company, formed in 1972 by five former IBM engineers, is now known as the bestselling ERP manufacturer in the world. ASAP is the company's methodology for implementing ERP. ASAP is composed of 5 consecutive phases (McGinnis and Huang, 2007).

    2.3.2 ORACLE Methodology

    After SAP, ORACLE Company is recognized as the bestselling ERP manufacturer worldwide. AIM’s methodology for implementing ERP is composed of 6 phases.

    2.3.3 SIGNATURE Methodology

    EPICOR Company is another ERP manufacturer in the world. The company’s methodology, SIGNATURE, is composed of 6 consecutive phases to implement ERP.

    2.4 Combination of PMBOK Standard in the Execution of ERP Systems

    Investigation of the literature review showed that there is little research in relation to the PMBOK standard combination in the execution of ERP systems. The PMBOK standard considers best practice and includes proven and efficient methodologies for project management, defining a project gradually from the beginning, in a unique and prioritized way.

    According to PMBOK, project management re-fers to the application of knowledge, competence, tools and techniques in project activities to meet project re-quirements.

    Project management work requires a balance between the various competitive elements in the project and the elements given in the 10 standard areas of knowledge, including: integrity management, scope management, time management, cost management, quality management, human resources management, communication management, risk management, procurement management and stakeholder management. Processes in five process groups cover knowledge area, including: Initiation, Planning, execution, Monitoring/Control, and Termination. In the PMBOK standard, a non-flexible life cycle is not defined, but is defined as the conventional sequence of phases that include the process groups mentioned.

    From the point of view of project management, Flani et al. have examined two case studies of the ERP execution project in Portugal and compared the project management methodology adopted by these companies with Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). In this study, it was found that the understanding and application of PMBOK by project coordinator, taking into account important vital elements, could affect management's role. Major critical elements include: Planning that should be sufficient, accurate and complete; Commitment and effective participation of senior management; and stakeholder management to reduce their resistance and motivate them to succeed. As a result, the understanding and application of PMBOK concepts by the project manager and the qualifications achieved in the development of other projects is undoubtedly the main factor for success in implementing ERP (Gracheva, 2010).

    Anne and Almodimigh have conducted a re-search on the impact of project management on the life cycle of the ERP project execution. This article investi-gates the impact of project management on ERP execu-tion using a variety of methodologies. Also, the critical role of the project manager, project team and project management in the execution of ERP projects in organi-zations with different cultures and sizes were identified. As a result, this study proves that the life cycle of ERP execution will be successful using the theory and method of project management (da Silva Gomes, 2013).


    3.1 Designing a Network Model for Case Studies

    The purpose of using ANP method is to deter-mine the importance of each knowledge domain in the phases of ERP projects. Binary comparison matrices for areas of knowledge in each phase by the experts, which were in the selected sample of the project execution team, were the contractor. An analysis of the ANP method and the designed model and the formation of comparative matrices and eventually the ranking of options were used with Super decisions software.

    To design a network model for the studied sam-ples, the present research has been conducted on three levels: the first level of the project is the launch of the ERP project, and the second phase is the ERP project phase, and at the last level, knowledge areas are ranked as options.

    3.2 Completion of Comparison Matrices to Rank the Importance of Knowledge Area in the Project Phases

    To determine the importance of each area of knowledge in the project phases, samples of 7 experts were used for the Iran Yasa project and a sample of 9 experts in the Sayeh Saman project. The experts have more than 10 years of experience in the related field with bachelor’s degree or higher. These people are active in the execution contractor deployment team and have mastered the PMBOK standard and have internal documentation for this standard.

    For each phase, a comparative matrix of knowledge area is completed by each person. Finally, the sum of these matrices is combined with the following record coefficients table and entered into the Super decisions software.

    3.3 The Result of Ranking the Importance of Each Knowledge Domain in the Deployment Projects Phases

    At this stage of the research, after the introduc-tion of comparison matrices in the software for each phase, the ranking of knowledge area is performed. It should be noted that it was necessary to compare the deployment phases in order to determine the final ranking, which was entered into the software with the help of the WBS weights of the project. In addition, the effects of phases on each other which was the main reason for choosing the ANP model and the non-use of the AHP method could not be overlooked. The comparisons were entered into the software in the manner described.

    3.4 The Result of the Importance of Knowledge Areas for the Case Study Pro-ject

    According to the methodology phases, the sys-tem deployments for each phase were obtained separately from the software. The final result is achieved by the combination of the project deployment phases.

    It should be noted that the inconsistency index is also considered in the results obtained, and the rate of this index is less than 0.1 in all results.

    3.5 Analyzing the Extent of Execution of Knowledge Area in Each Deployment Phase

    To analyze the extent of execution of knowledge area in each phase of the project deployment, a five-scale Likert questionnaire was set and distributed among the statistical population of the project users who actually analyzed the project from the perspective of the employer. The purpose of the questionnaire is to determine the contribution of the execution of each knowledge domain in each phase of the deployment methodology, taking into account the user’s experience of the execution project in their company.

    To do this, all users who were involved with the project during the execution process from the beginning to the end of the project were used. The statistical population for each project was less than 40 people that the questionnaire was distributed among all participants to complete. Validity and reliability of the questionnaire were evaluated and it was determined that all the indicators are in the accepted area.

    After completing the questionnaires in both sta-tistical samples, the data were entered into SPSS software. Then, for ranking knowledge area in each phase, descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviation) were completed and the following results were achieved.

    For the final ranking, the mean score of questions related to a knowledge domain in all phases, including the weights of each phase given in the WBS project, was used, which is presented in the importance/execution matrix.

    3.6 Formation of Importance/Execution Matrix

    By combining the results of Super decisions and SPSS software, an importance/execution matrix for each phase of the project can be created. In the matrix, the importance ranking of the knowledge area that came from experts' opinion and with the help of Super decisions software was placed on the vertical axis and the execution ranking of the knowledge area in the horizontal axis. After using the opinions of the experts of the statistical population, the results are shown in Table 4.

    Using the above table, the categorization of the importance/execution matrix was made with four analytic areas, the final result of which is shown in the following figure.


    4.1 Identifying Critical Knowledge Ar-ea

    There are four areas in the importance/execution matrix:

    • • Red area: Knowledge area are of great im-portance in this area and less attention paid to the execution of the project.

    • • Yellow area: Knowledge area are of less im-portance in this area, while more are being ad-dressed in the execution of the project.

    • • Pale green area: In this area, knowledge areas are of great importance and they have received a lot of attention in the execution of the project.

    • • Bold green area: In this area, the knowledge domain is of little importance and has been underestimated in the execution of the project.

    According to the four areas mentioned, the red area is a critical area. The yellow area is an area which can be analyzed and examined, because we can achieve the red areas by reducing the time and cost allocated to the knowledge area of these areas. Finally, both green areas are safe areas and have acceptable levels of importance and execution.

    4.2 Identifying Project Problems in Each Phase of Its Execution

    At this stage, a Delphi-based technique session was held at the employer’s premises in order to form a list of the problems of the study sampled projects. In these meetings, both sides of the implementation project (employer and contractor) were present and, by examining the project process, presented the problems in each phase of the project. The final list was agreed by the parties and used for further analysis of the research. The purpose of collecting a list of problems is to find a links between critical knowledge area and problems in the project.

    4.3 Identifying and Analyzing Critical Knowledge Area Inputs/Outputs Using the PMBOK Standard

    To analyze and examine the impacts of critical domains in each phase of project deployment and to comply with the PMBOK standard, we identify the inputs and outputs of critical knowledge area in the project phases.

    The results of analyzes and studies carried out for each sample are summarized in the tables.


    According to the results obtained from the de-ployment execution experts’ judgments that identified the importance of knowledge area in each of the phases of the ERP system deployment project and compared with the views of the team of key users of the employer regarding the extent of execution of each field of knowledge in the deployment phases, critical knowledge areas have been identified. Also, the adaptation of these domains to the problems in the project as well as the inputs and outputs of the standard PMBOK identified the weakness in the implementation and control of the methodology of the deployment under the study, which this requires a further review of the up-to-date project management standards by teams and deploying companies to cover the gap in implementing methodologies and to reform the process of deploying and implementing ERP systems within the country. The two knowledge area of scope management and communication management are very important in terms of employer and requires further studies, especially in the initiating and planning phases. Examining the effects of PMBOK knowledge areas on the phases of ERP implementation in other projects and other countries can be considered for future research.



    The weight matrix of phases for Iran Yasa project.


    The weight matrix of phases for Iran Sayeh Saman project.


    The final result of the deployment phases of Iran Yasa project.


    The final result of the deployment phases of Sayeh Saman project.


    Matrix importance/execution of Iran Yasa project.


    Matrix importance/execution of Iran Yasa project.


    Iran Yasa analysis.


    Sayeh Saman analysis.


    Categories of success factors in ERP execution

    Classification of failure factors in ERP execution

    Record coefficients

    How to rank knowledge areas

    The relationship between knowledge area and the problems of Iran Yasa project


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