ERP Gods of the Hyborian Age

By Paul Kjer | August 9, 2018

Just as ERP systems have evolved over the years, so have our implementation practices. Agile principles have been combined with well trusted PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) processes and modern tools to create fail-safe best practices to accommodate virtually every contingency in what has become an ERP implementation Utopia. And yet there are lessons to be learned from ERP implementations of the past, even the most distant past.

Recent archeological excavations from Aquilonian sites, dating back to an age undreamed of, reveal some of the challenges faced by ancient ERP implementations. Thousands of years before the electronic age, ERP systems from the Hyborian Age were stone-based, with information imparted by the sizes of different piles of rocks with additional relational information carried in the color, size, and shape of the rock.  But I digress.

Excavations at the Gunderland site of the Aquilonian Empire have revealed an ancient temple that has been astonishingly well preserved over the centuries.  The temple was erected by the project priests of the province during the “Phoenix” project, an attempt to replace a failed “dirt-based” system with the more modern stone technology.  (Note: This is the earliest known reference to a “Phoenix” project, circa 50,000 BCE)

At the foundation of Hyborian religious belief was the idea that gods struggled against each other in dualities, each God locked in an eternal battle with another. Offering sacrifices to a God could strengthen them in their struggle, tipping the balance in their favor, if only temporarily. The gods below explain a few of these dualities:


Opposing God



God of User Acceptance God of the Status Quo
Hurdu believed all Gods that proceeded him where stupid.  He could only look forward and would turn to stone if he ever looked back. Ingloguk believed that all Gods that came after him were stupid.  He could only look backward and would turn to stone if he ever looked ahead.

To illustrate, a status meeting from the Phoenix project might have gone something like this:

Project Mason: “The users want the stones to be more like dirt.”

Project Priest: “Sacrifice a goat to Hurdu and tell them dirt will be available under the stones.”

Other God-pairs were locked in their own battles, including Shattuk and Visivlu, and the others below.



God of Clear Understanding Goddess of Miracles and Optimism, aka Goddess of the Happy Path Use Case
Shattuk annoyed other Gods with his attention to detail, repetition of what everyone already knew, and exploration of contingencies. Developers worshipped Shattuk, but end-users found him tiresome. Visivlu was well liked by end-users and functional consultants for her optimistic nature, but despised by developers for her vague definition of exceptions.



Goddess of Scope Control God of Dreams
Elenchose measured project success in terms of the metrics of scope, schedule and budget. Elenchose was the treasurer of the realm beyond. Oneiro scoffed at the budget, and strove to provide anything that would make life easier for the users.  Oneiro measured project success in terms of the value the system provided and the happiness of the users.



Goddess of Perfection God of Chaos
Immaculum rejected anything that could be improved until everything she purveyed was perfect. Immaculum was known to team-up with Oneiro in battles against Elenchose and Neschatye. Neschatye took pride in how quickly he could get things done and how many things he had accomplished. Neschatye strove to please and was usually loved in the early stages of a project, but often rejected after go-live.

People of Hyborian times lived and worked in a world very different from our modern one, and we might be tempted to dismiss their beliefs as primitive and superstitious. And of course, you would be right to do so – we have come so far.  Yet, in the unlikely event that you find it hard to gain acceptance of a new system, or that your budget is creeping beyond its limits, you might want to reflect on the ERP Gods of the Hyborian age, and it might not hurt to have a goat handy.


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