Written by Samantha Colby
“The project was a success” is a phrase we hear often in the business world. Is “success” in reference to a project simply an arbitrary opinion, or are there parameters or metrics that lend credence to dubbing a project successful?
In the Human Capital Management (HCM) technology world, the formula for a successful project is one that has been completed on time, on budget. At HRchitect, we take that one step further, and consider effective user adoption as an indicator of project success.
SUCCESS = ON TIME + WITHIN BUDGET + USER ADOPTION
HRchitect has a 97% successful project completion rate over the past two decades. Here are some of our tried and true methods that help us achieve a successful project outcome for our clients.
Tips for Keeping Your Project on Time and Within Budget:
- Have a strong Project Manager – We recommend leveraging your implementation partner’s project manager for this aspect. It’s helpful to have an authoritative figure outside of your organization who can handle the challenge of effective, frequent communication required to keep your project on track. And let’s be honest, if you can bring in a resource to help with this, it’s one less major responsibility that is taken off of your organization’s team lead’s plate.
- Stick to your project charter – read it early and often. This will help you and the rest of your team keep a laser-focus on the end goal and keep your positive momentum going strong.
- Be realistic when considering the bandwidth of your client-side team – your project plan should outline the level of effort/hours each person will be putting in to the project each week. Look for scenarios that may conflict, and find a solution before your project starts. For example, if your lead benefits administrator needs to dedicate 30 hours to your implementation project in Week 12, and that happens to fall on the week where your organization has benefits enrollment, you’ll need to find a workaround so that the project isn’t delayed if the team member can’t make those deadlines.
- Conduct weekly status meetings – and make sure your teams take these meetings seriously and is prepared with updates regarding their role in the project. “I don’t know” isn’t a valuable status update.
- Spend time writing quality test scripts at the beginning of your project, and have your implementation consulting partner review them – if you rush through this phase and forget a few use case scenarios in your discovery phase, you may find that once you’ve completed the configuration phase, you’re missing functionality. The only way to fix that is to re-do system configuration which is complex and time consuming
- Budget for training and support up front – your organization may want to trim project costs and suggest eliminating these elements, however that leaves you in a bind if at the end of the budgeted project, you’d like more training or support.
- Understand that the nice-to-have features that you may find yourself wanting to add to your system along the way may need to wait until the core project is completed. Build your solid foundation for your system and then add on the bells and whistles if you have time and/or money left in your budget.
Tips for Driving User Adoption:
- Create a formal change management plan – A failure to plan is a plan to fail.
- Bring in an expert to execute your change management plan. This is especially recommended if you aren’t sure if you’ll have the bandwidth to follow through on the execution yourself, or if change management isn’t your area of expertise.
- Invest in the right training for the right people – At minimum, you should make sure your budget allows for in-depth training for your system “super user”. However, specialized training for different stakeholder/end user groups can be the difference between your end users complaining about having to attend yet another meeting, and seeing the value the system adds directly to their day to day role. Not to mention, they’ll feel more comfortable with the system and have a chance to ask questions up front, which will save your HR department tons of time by cutting down on future inquiries.
- Consider your needs for ongoing support beyond go-live – your implementation partner may include a set number of days they’ll help answer questions or troubleshoot issues with your new system, but what are you planning to do a month, 6 months, or a year from now? Would you like to have a resource to talk to about the new features that roll out in version updates, or when you just can’t remember what data files filter to a specific data field? What about when your boss needs a report asap, but your day is filled with back to back meetings, or to take a few things off your already full plate? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’ll want to consider an ongoing support package.
If you’re getting ready to implement a new HR technology system, these tips will help you ensure your project is on time, within budget, and that your system is effectively adopted. If you want even more of a guarantee of project success, bring in the experts at HRchitect to help. Our services span from helping organizations create HCM technology strategic plans, evaluation and selection services for new or replacement systems, change management, and implementation services.
About 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.