The Importance of Project Governance

January 17, 2017

Written by: Brian Kimball

Projects – when ungoverned – become unmanageable pretty quickly. This is exacerbated when project teams are comprised of people who have other responsibilities that actually comprise their regular roles within the organization.

Very few companies have the luxury of dedicating full time resources to HCM implementations, and many of the people playing critical roles on the project team have been seconded and asked to help out on the project while still doing their regular job. These people often come with minimal experience doing implementation work, and being on a project team is not necessarily a core competency.

This does not mean they should not be on the team. It simply means that project management must ensure effective rules of governance to facilitate a smoother implementation experience.

At the outset of the project, it is key to define the rules of governance that will be applied throughout the course of the project, and to make sure these rules are understood by all team members.

The following is a list of suggested governance guidelines that will provide an effective framework when starting out:

  • Project scope will be watched throughout the project and any deviations will be managed via a documented change process.
  • Guiding principles that impact design will be adhered to throughout the duration of the project. These principles will vary based on each organization, and should be established early during the project charter phase.

An example of a guiding principle would be the determination that the system is going to drive a centralized corporate brand rather than individual localized brands. Should the company decide that this is the strategic direction, then this principle needs to be kept in the forefront.

Another example of a guiding principle is process standardization. If the strategic vision is to work towards standard processes to support scalability, easier maintenance, more effective support/training, and better metrics, this principle should again be central when deep in the design trenches.

  • Design decisions will be documented.
  • Agendas will be provided for team meetings with details outlined to ensure that the proper attendees are present as needed.
  • Team members will attend scheduled meetings. Meeting attendance is not optional.
  • Weekly status reports will be provided by project managers and team leads on a timely basis.
  • Project managers will provide weekly project plan updates and team leads will have weekly visibility into how the project is tracking against the timeline.
  • Respect and professionalism will be expected behavior by all team members, with the understanding that poor behavior and unprofessional conduct will be addressed appropriately.
  • Communication will be timely with expectation of responsiveness within an agreed upon timeframe.
  • Decision making timeframe of a “to be defined time period” (suggest 72 hours) after which point it will be escalated to Advisory level to ensure that time is not lost on the project.

The above list is certainly not exhaustive, but when these simple rules are understood by team members, accepted as valid and applied on an ongoing basis, your project has a much higher likelihood of being successful.

HRchitect has multiple years of experience assisting companies with their HCM technology implementations.  This includes the establishment of a strategic direction for HCM technology, evaluation of solutions, Change Management, Project Management, and implementation assistance.  We provide value by adding product and technological expertise which may not be available through the company team members. Talk to the experts at HRchitect to ensure a smooth implementation and to help you get the most from your investment.


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.