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Assigning your own project manager to an HRMS implementation

You may want to assign your own independent project manager before deploying an HRMS to ensure the project is successful and aligns with your goals. Here are several reasons why.

During an HRMS implementation, having your own independent and skilled project manager is of critical importance to ensure project success.

Typically, an HRMS vendor will assign an implementation consultant with project management skill sets and a standardized project template. However, their goals may not align with yours, which can increase your project's risk. Below are some examples of the benefits of assigning your own independent project manager.

Internal project requirements

Companies often have their own processes for running large projects that extend beyond the scope of one team or department. Because HRMS projects may affect teams and employees outside of HR, the project might require additional oversight, and there could be standard internal project processes to follow.

For example, because this is an IT-related project, there may be documentation requirements related to the technical decisions made during the HRMS implementation, and new interfaces may be needed to support the project. Also, companies often have password rules, data retention policies, and change or risk management practices that need to be incorporated into an HRMS project plan.

In addition, there may be internal meetings that track projects and that require each project representative to report on progress in a standardized format.

Project start and end extend beyond the implementation

An HRMS project will often begin long before the vendor's implementation consultant is assigned. There may be a business case to prepare and present, requirements to document, vendor identification and selection to perform, and contract negotiations to consider. An internal project manager can plan and track all these important tasks from day one.

Similarly, the vendor may only remain on the project team for a few weeks after go-live, even though activities will likely continue for weeks, if not months, after the implementation is complete. For example, you may require additional training sessions to produce training videos and perform project close-out activities.

An HRMS project will often begin long before the vendor's implementation consultant is assigned.

Additionally, if the HRMS implementation is being broken up into multiple phases, which is common for larger projects, your internal project manager can provide continuity over the course of the whole program rather than just one individual project, as is the case with most vendor implementation consultants.

All of these pre- and post-implementation tasks require as much rigor and project management as the tasks directly related to the implementation to ensure all tasks remain on schedule.

Hold the vendor accountable

Another important reason to have your own project manager assigned to an HRMS project is to hold the vendor accountable to the schedule. You want someone representing your company who will proactively work with the vendor so the project stays on time.

Together, they can develop plans to proactively address issues that arise. If changes are required, your project manager can ensure your internal policies are followed, that the changes are approved by the right people and that escalations take place when appropriate.

Working with internal stakeholders

Working with internal stakeholders is also an important component of your internal project manager's role. There is a strong relationship building aspect of large projects such as this. For an HRMS implementation to be successful, it will need support from all the stakeholders.

An internal project manager will know the internal players and will be able to develop a strategy to get everyone on board and keep them engaged. The internal project manager can proactively keep the right stakeholders involved during the various phases of the project and can deal with any roadblocks if and when issues arise.

Additional project milestones

Finally, your project manager may want to manage additional milestones that may not be identified in the implementation schedule developed by the vendor. These may be internal items that affect the schedule from a strategic perspective, and they may not be on the radar for the vendor's implementation consultant.

For example, a project manager can take into account major initiatives taking place in the organization, such as employee holidays, major company events, and executive and governance meetings.

Implementing software is always a big undertaking for an organization, and you will want to mitigate as many risks as possible. One way to do this is to have your own project manager in charge of the schedule. This will not only ensure the HRMS implementation stays on schedule, but it will ensure your internal processes are followed and can help with pre- and post-implementation tasks that are not tracked by the vendor.

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