The Best Laid Plans Part 3

February 9, 2015

Deploying a system is not a sprint – no matter what your vendor tells you. It is a marathon. And it has many stages.

Implementation is only one of them. And that can be very fast if needed. But the goal of deployment is not to simply implement.

I know – we all get this. It’s super obvious, obviously.

Then why do so many deployments fail?

There are obviously many reasons (hence this blog) but one key reason is that too many project teams don’t really understand the nature of the race and fail to plan accordingly. The finish line is not the “Go Live” event. That is more like mile 6 (kilometer 10) in a marathon.

The finish line is way out there. It is when the system has been deployed such that it is actually used properly and eliciting cheers from the audience. It is 26 miles and 385 yards (or 42 kilometers and 195 meters) after you start. And between the “Go Live” event and deployment success there is a huge amount of energy, sweat and tears – including the infamous “wall”. You need to beat it all – not just part of it.

It’s sort of like the preparation of ribs. I learned this the hard way. You can buy the most incredible sauce and get a great side of ribs but if you don’t give it time and patience they kind of suck! But cooked low and long – what an unbelievable difference!!

The marathon experience takes preparation, planning and nerve to carry out and is not for the faint of heart, or those who give up too easily, or who have failed to train. The moment you begin to give in, the natural inertia inherent in all things begins to do its thing. Momentum is slowly lost and slowly but surely you will see your wonderful system beginning to be less than what it could have been – steadily becoming the seemingly immovable object you first started with.

The applause you expected to hear will not be there. The accolades will not roll. Murmurs about a new marathon will begin to pop up here and there.

The best laid plans must plan for the days and weeks and months after you reach the quarter way mark.

Where are you ultimately trying to go, and why exactly are you going there, and how will you know when you have actually arrived there?

What are the “walls” you will inevitably hit en route to your destination, and how are you going to get through them? Or over them? Or around them?

And do you have the stamina and endurance to actually do this in the first place.

This is all obvious – I know. But for all too many – obviously not…

Brian Kimball

About Brian Kimball

Brian has over 20 years of expertise in the Human Resources domain including over 15 years in systems development and implementation. Since he stated with HRchitect in 2000, Brian has led project management, functional consulting and training responsibilities in over 75 Applicant Tracking system evaluations and implementations. He is well versed in all aspects of the HR domain, including Applicant Tracking, Talent Management, Workforce Management, and the related technologies.


In his current role at HRchitect, Brian manages the firm’s HCM systems implementation services teams and leverages his extensive implementation expertise to develop HRchitect’s proprietary implementation methodologies and mentor his team. Brian’s expertise in managing and implementing HR systems has also resulted in numerous speaking engagements and published articles on how to successfully manage HCM technology projects. Brian enjoys the energy that comes from building something together with our consulting team and our clients that truly makes a difference within their organization. He feels that as a consulting organization we are able to bring a perspective to bear with our clients that is enabled by HRchitect’s continued commitment to vendor neutrality.

When Brian isn’t working with his teams or speaking on HCM implementation best practices, he enjoys cooking and experimenting with Fusion Cuisine as well as developing his own estate cidery in Winnipeg, Canada.