Complexity is inherent in any enterprise Kronos implementation. Failing to fully account and plan for all variables in the total Kronos equation guarantees an overbudget and under-delivered project. Failing to plan for the inherent complexity in an IT project results in:
An end product that is a support nightmare, negating any planned ROI
"Most people don't plan to fail; they simply fail to plan."
Planning for complexity in a Kronos implementation is the first step towards avoiding complications. In this 2 part blog series, we will discuss the crucial steps involved in simplifying a complex enterprise Kronos implementation or project. First, what do we mean by complexity? Simply put, complexity is "the state or quality of being intricate or complicated". Kronos can be a complex project for any IT department; for example, modules have different installation procedures, care must be taken to ensure the application and web servers have the correct bandwidth and are running compatible software versions, and individual user workstations may need to be adjusted for browser compatibility. Within the organization itself, there may be exempt and non-exempt employees, multiple payrolls, union rules, scheduling issues or OSHA incident tracking requirements. Additionally, most Kronos projects require participation from a blended team of decision makers including HR, Finance, IT, Payroll, Internal Audit, etc., not to mention a very diverse mix of end-users! While the volume of variables can seem overwhelming, managing it all is very similar to the process of following a complex recipe: assemble the ingredients, required materials and conditions, follow the steps, and when precisely executed, the end product can be an amazing dish. Conversely, if all required ingredients, materials, and steps are not followed – the end product is not achieved.
How do you "simplify" something with so many variables? Simplifying a complex IT project requires thorough due diligence to identify and address all of the variables that comprise your project.
Assess Your Project Team’s Mix of Resources and Skills
When beginning a project, an important step in the process is to conduct an assessment of your organization's current state model. A current state model outlines the systems, processes, and owners of the current operating model. There are multiple steps involved in properly conducting a current state analysis.
Step one: Collect your inventory data into a query supported format.
Organizing your inventory in this manner provides insight on exactly what you want to measure and in turn, helps you discern how to best structure your discovery or inventory questions. For example, some data collection questions may need to include a narrative or free text to open doors for meaningful dialogue concerning functional considerations. Other questions will require a numerical or true/false response. When addressing these questions, the appropriate answer is yes, no, or a statistical number.
Step Two: Consider the reasoning behind taking the time to collect inventory data.
Thoughtful consideration of not just WHAT data you are collecting, but HOW you are storing it will position your project team to have access to meaningful trending and forecasting options. This is particularly meaningful for larger projects with a staggered deployment approach. For example, suppose a Kronos conversion project involving 100+ facilities extends over multiple calendar years. Trending will be needed to monitor post-live performance of live facilities, to conduct gap analysis for pre-conversion facilities, and to perform ongoing observation of market impacts to continuously assess project ROI. To accomplish high volume data analysis and trending, the data must be organized accordingly. HOW you store your current state data will impact how much value it adds to your project.
Step Three: Consider the Components of your inventory.
A current state analysis includes not only a review of software and hardware, but a review of your resources. Resource planning is critical for any successful project effort. Particularly for larger projects with an integrated stakeholder base, a detailed inventory of RESOURCES and SKILLSETS is needed. Meaningful resource planning will give every stakeholder involved, from HR to Payroll to IT to Operations, a clear picture of exactly what percent of dedicated/blended resources will be needed to carry out the project. When conducting a resource inventory for complex projects, we suggest capturing the following attributes:
Resource Inventory Suggestions:
Inventory of meaningful certifications (skills & certifications)
Experience level (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced)
Primary, Secondary (Make sure a backup for each resource is identified)
SME Focus (Does the resource have subject matter expertise in multiple disciplines?)
Vendor Inventory - Who is engaged and through whom? (This is important to plan for the management of the budget and invoicing process long term, especially in multi-vendor projects.)
Skill Set Inventory Suggestions:
-Skill set inventory tracking should be captured against the needs of the project and the organization.
-Counter complexity with simplicity. Basic inventory/query tools like Excel can easily meet the needs of your skill set inventory tracking.
-When collecting resource inventory, an Excel Heat Map can be a very user-friendly tool that organizes a complex set of data into a very simplistic picture. This is particularly helpful when discussing project budgets and resource justification
Step Four: Reduce the Number of Planning Tools.
Whenever possible, try to reduce the number of planning tools you use to accomplish a project. Incredibly complex projects require a simple and manageable administrative base. The more tools in place, the more artifacts are produced, and the more labor intensive and non-productive the planning and reconciliation process becomes. Centralization is the key. For every tool or artifact created, consider the maintenance equation long term and assess whether the tool is creating another “one-off” to manage.
Assessing your current state model is only the first step of the process of simplifying a complex implementation. Tune in next week for part two of the series, highlighting how to target and meet project deadlines, initiate change management, and to download the complete Kronos Implementation Guide. Subscribe to our blog to be notified when part two comes out next week!