Highly complex software implementations are a well-known occurrence within many organizations. Kronos, specifically, doesn’t just provide software. We also provide a partnership leading to outcomes that will either reinforce or change behavior within your organization.
So, what elements ensure a successful project? Even after having a well-defined scope, proper resourcing, and doing initial project planning? Below are key considerations to keep in mind prior to, during, and after implementations.
1. Identify and Measure Outcomes
During a project, it is critical to ensure that the outcomes you want to achieve are fully-defined and tracked. This provides a baseline to ensure that you can tie company-wide goals (EX: boost employee engagement, increase compliance, etc.) to the project. Without clear outcomes in place, a project could finish without defined measures of success or accomplishment.
2. A Clear Escalation Path/Strong Project Sponsorship Availability
What should be done if an urgent item needs to be escalated? What if information needs to be communicated throughout the organization? Identifying a point-of-escalation, an executive sponsor, is critical. This individual’s purpose is to clear obstacles, assist with taking advantage of opportunities, and take ownership of the project’s success at an executive level within the organization. Moreover, according to the Project Management Institute (PMI), 1 out of 4 organizations report that the lack of an executive sponsor is the primary reason for project failure.
During any project, a looming risk of burnout among resources or changes in priorities may exist. This can prove fatal to a project during implementation – it is imperative to ensure that proper resourcing is available for the project to avoid timeline delays, loss of knowledge within the team, and opportunity costs associated with the project’s incompletion.
Did you know that one of five projects fail due to ineffective communications? During complex implementations, it is pivotal to ensure that all resources are fully coordinated and know a project’s status at any given time. If a lack of communication exists, there is a risk that resources will be working on different tasks at conflicting timeframes, project oversight will decline, and executive sponsorship/stakeholder reporting will become a challenge. Nevertheless, if done correctly, the opposite is known to be true – communication can be a powerful tool to ensure the project is progressing successfully.
5. Risk and Opportunity Management
Another large project downfall is the inability to properly manage risks and opportunities. As situations arise and project assumptions are tested, creating a plan to take advantage, avoid, and/or mitigate various scenarios is essential to ensuring the success of a project. The key to success is to ensure that project planning is taking a proactive approach, instead of being reactive to situations that arise.
6. Change Management
How will the rest of the organization learn about the changes coming from the project? Change management should be starting from day 1– not only should a strong change advocate from a senior level in the organization be established, but constant communications should be provided to end-users and stakeholders about the upcoming changes. Implementing changes with Kronos can prove to be a very exciting period. Excitement is inevitable!
Training should be considered in two main facets. Not only end-user training but also the project team. Key considerations for end-users include ensuring that training materials are coordinated and distributed on-time, as well as making sure that resources are being communicated for any questions that may arise. Moreover, the project team would need to ensure that the applicable team members have taken the necessary amount of training to provide information relating to solution design, thoroughly test the application, and administer the system post-implementation.
User-Acceptance Testing (UAT) for the changes being made during implementation is critical to success. If the application is not allocated enough time for thorough UAT, a large risk of not meeting all business requirements, processes, and goals is present, affecting the project’s progress and end-user adoption. With more UAT, the more successful design considerations are to ensure that organizational outcomes are met. The great news is that Kronos offers a helpful white paper about how to successfully navigate this process and prepare for testing!
9. Project Quality Checks
Just as it is important to ensure that the product is tested thoroughly, it is equally important to ensure that project oversight and organization is effective. Providing constant feedback is highly beneficial – this ensures a constant feedback loop to resources assigned to the project to ensure that all project deliverables maintain high quality throughout the implementation. Without feedback at key points during the project, miscommunication could potentially prevail.
10. Ownership of the System Post-Implementation
After implementation, it is essential to identify a key individual, group, or even department that will host responsibility for the system. Regular maintenance and key decision making in the future will need to be considered. This ensures that project goals and outcomes that were set at the beginning of the project continue to be met post-closure.
Do you have a “pro-tip” that you’d like to share that can make or break a project? Feel free to post on the Kronos Community. We always look forward to collaboration!