4 Crucial Elements of an HRMS Project Plan
First of all, a slightly obvious acknowledgement, before you can have a project plan for your new HRMS, you need the go-ahead, you need sign-off; and to get that, you’ll need a scope document or business case. This lays out the requirements and rationale, the expected business benefits and so on, and is essential for gaining initial support for the project. This becomes the reference document for everything that follows from selection criteria, to implementation, to evaluation, and finally, the calculation of ROI.
But let’s say you’ve already got the okay from the board and the budget-holders; what about the project plan itself – what should your HRMS project plan consist of?
The project plan is where you do the detail work. Every single task must be listed, the resources identified, the responsibilities allocated, the deadlines set. Dependencies (one task upon another) are critical and will determine what is done when – some tasks can be done in parallel, others cannot even be started until another is completed – and often by whom. It’s beyond the scope of this short article to give a complete guide to generic project management planning techniques, but let’s focus on four key elements or broad categories of task which absolutely must be present in your HRMS project plan.
HRMS project plan element #1 – communication & engagement
In one sense, these crucial elements come in no particular order, but it’s fair to say that without a reasonable level of support across the organisation, your HRMS purchase and implementation is probably doomed to failure (or at least, a reduced ROI). Different people will have different concerns, degrees of interest, and levels of influence over the success of your project. You need to factor in stakeholder mapping to identify these different groups, and tailored communications and consultation activities to engage their support.
HRMS project plan element #2 – technical
It’s technology so there'll be technical considerations. Installation, integration with other software, mobile access, password levels, data cleansing and migration, user training… a fair degree of technical expertise is required for a successful HRMS project and not all of the technical aspects can be set right at the start; for example, until you’ve selected your software, you may not know for sure whether it will be cloud or on-site deployment, and that one distinction will determine a number technical ‘must-do’s.
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HRMS project plan element #3 – resources
Do you have what it takes to succeed? Money, time, knowledge and skill – each stage of your project plan will involve one or more of these requirements and they need mapping out in advance. For example, if you find you don’t have the in-house expertise, you may have buy it in – in the form of consultancy, either independent or from the software vendor – and that will then impact on your budget.
HRMS project plan element #4 – timeline
The final essential feature is a set of clear milestones - any lack of precision on timing will inevitably lead to project drift and even possible failure. For the sake of everyone involved, you need clarity on what must be done by when, and to what standard.
Finally, there’s the issue of project governance. The plan may be precise, specific and clear but it can’t be set in stone. Things change, unexpected factors arise. Your timeline may need adjusting, your resources may need expanding, etc. however formal or informal you make it, you need a route to monitor and – when necessary – adjust the plan to fit the reality of your circumstances. It may be a project committee who can make these kind of decisions, it may be a single c-suite sponsor who you run this stuff past. Either way, the final piece of the puzzle is to have mechanism for keeping the plan real.
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