Celebrate Success (with your project team!)

March 6, 2018

Written by: Samantha Colby


Kool & The Gang gave us all some good life advice in the form of their 1980s #1 Billboard hit song “Celebrate”. Almost four decades later, the message is particularly relevant to the change management work that we do with our clients at HRchitect. Regardless of which change management methodology you follow – maybe you’re a fan of Kotter’s model, Lewin’s model, or ours, which is based on the Kubler Ross Model, –  a common component in managing change is to celebrate both small wins and long term successes. During your HCM implementation, when should you make sure to stop and celebrate with your team?

  1. Upon completion of the Project Charter – Since most of your project team will be onsite in one room working on your project kickoff, you should have a mini-celebration once your project charter is completed! The beginning of the project is usually the point where motivation and momentum is at an all-project high – an ideal time for celebration.

Celebration inspiration: Go out to lunch as a group or have a catered lunch in your office and enforce this time as a non-working period. Have the team leader or executive sponsor formally deliver praise in the form of thanking the team and recognizing the work that has been done thus far. The team, at this point, is still building working relationships so this celebration gives everyone a chance to continue to bond and get to know each other better. An added benefit of this celebration is that better team cohesiveness will lead to an overall increase in likelihood of project success.


  1. Once you’ve completed requirements gathering. This is an early phase in an implementation project, but often includes many stakeholder groups. This phase can be mentally exhausting for those involved in leading the extensive requirements gathering process. Pause and celebrate the completion of this phase to refresh your team and help prevent burnout.

Celebration inspiration: During your weekly project status meeting, carve out some time for team members to share their individual accomplishments. Ask each team member, “What did you accomplish during requirements gathering that you are most proud of?”. Don’t forget to open the floor for team members to give one another kudos for a job well done, too.

And if your company allows it, provide some snacks for this meeting.  Having food at a celebration, somehow makes it more relaxed and less like work.


  1. After your system go-live! This is the obvious one – the team has finally accomplished the objective that you set out to tackle months ago. Make sure you and the team, in all your go-live glory, have a BIG celebration here! After all, the hardest part of the project is over, and you’re rightfully feeling proud of the fact that your new system is up and running!

Celebration idea: This milestone probably warrants more than one celebration method. Make sure to celebrate by announcing the good news with the rest of your organization, beyond the team collaborating on this project. It’s likely that your change communication plan has templates that focus on this communication, so this should be a breeze. Make sure to name your project team members individually in these communications so they can enjoy the feel-good vibes that come from company-wide praise and recognition.

Don’t forget the dessert! Order a cake or another shareable dessert to share with the team. If you can swing it, a celebratory lunch or dinner with a congratulatory toast AND cake is even more special!

Photo Caption: Here’s a cool custom cake that ServiceNow provided to one of their customers, Virgin Atlantic, upon system go live.

Photo credit: ServiceNow






4. Once you’ve survived Hypercare – Hypercare is also known as the 30 day period immediately following your go-live. It’s a period of time that consists of resolving any issues that arise, formally transitioning to a support model, and ensuring end users are getting the hang of the new system, and user adoption continues trending in a positive direction. Most of the main team members are wrapping up outstanding deliverables, and the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of project completion is within reach.

Celebration inspiration: Schedule a formal project de-brief with the team. Continue to recognize outstanding work that was executed during hypercare. Put together certificates of appreciation or some project-related awards to surprise the team with during your de-brief meeting. They’ll be stoked to know their project leadership felt like they were the “MVP”, “Testing Guru” or “#1 Trainer”. A sincere e-mail to each team member’s supervisor emphasizing their rock star performance is a good idea, too.

An offsite celebration is also a great idea to close out a project.  If your budget allows, taking the team to a sporting event, bowling, laser tag or whatever is appropriate that all members can participate in. This may be the last time some of the team will be working together, and an event is a great way to celebrate the new beginning.

Change, like a new HCM system, is scary. With effective change management that emphasizes celebrating your team’s small wins, it can become a lot less intimidating, and maybe even fun!

At HRchitect, we have helped numerous clients with evaluating, selecting, and implementing HCM technology. Change Management is such an important, but many times overlooked element of a successful HCM implementation. HRchitect can assist your organization with this all important element of a successful project.

About Samantha Colby

Samantha Colby

Samantha Colby is the Marketing Director at HRchitect, the leader in HCM systems strategic consulting. Samantha has several years of experience in the payroll and benefits administration space. Samantha has B2B and consumer marketing experience in several industries including consulting, higher education, and sports and entertainment. When not preparing for upcoming trade shows or executing marketing campaigns, Samantha can be found following Boston-based sports teams or reading a  book from the local library.