In the last post we talked about the main two Kronos upgrade options discussed at Kronosworks last week. There are good reasons to upgrade now and good reasons to wait for Kronos v8. Now I'd like to suggest that in many organizations the safest and most successful path to upgrade is...
Wait for the software, but not for the Upgrade Process!
A major concern about waiting to upgrade revolves around the availability and stability of Kronos Version 8.0.
I argue that one can use this concern as an advantage; having more time to perform a proper upgrade is valuable.
We find that it is common for upgrade projects to be rushed to adhere to seemingly arbitrary dates. Often bonuses are attached to successful projects and thus no matter what problems arise there is a sustained drive to the date. Don't get me wrong, as mentioned in the last blog "Should I Upgrade Kronos WFC Now OR Wait for Version 8" there are many reasons those dates might not be arbitrary. For example compliance, sunset software or other related projects might be affected, bringing an artifical sense of urgency to your Kronos upgrade project.
Effective project management can help avoid these pitfalls by driving a proper Discovery and Planning process. If you begin your company's upgrade project now with no intention of actually going live before WFC Version 8.0 stabilizes, there is time for some of the most important project deliverables (Ironically, the ones that are usually cut to "save time").
We perform a process called The Upgrade Studio. It is carefully designed to cover all the steps for a successful upgrade. Key to the process is:
- Deep discovery - determining the best path forward to both improve the existing configuration and use of the applications. During this phase, one should analyze how the tools are currently used. This can involve validating the configuration against bargaining agreements, payroll policies, accrual policies, etc. Sometimes the Discovery unearths workarounds used in previous Kronos versions that can be optimized, saving hours of work for the business. The strategic direction of the organization must be examined and tied to the process. For this discover it's important to work with external consultants to gain the advantage of fresh, experienced and neutral eyes to complex areas.
- Documentation - Most often I find that needed systems, user, and configuration documentation is missing or lacking. To be clear, solid documentation should not be an afterthought! It can be effectively used to gain consensus within the organization that one 'has it right'. I believe the following is a minimum:
- Discovery findings with Business Requirements, recommendations, scope, criteria for success, and agreements
- Application designs for any changes or additions
- Test Plan and cases that link to the Business Requirements
- Training Plan and materials
- Communications plan and materials to help manage the change the organization is about to undergo
- Change Management - Prepare the CM team for the big change coming. Build out the training. Create and model the communication plan. Build excitement within the organization about all the improvements.
- Project plan - Now that we have performed the Discovery, we can create a solid plan to get from "here to there" including:
- The physical upgrade
- Needed changes and improvements to align with goals and compliance
- Change management
- A rrealistic and workable agreed upon schedule
- A realistic budget. Without a clear and approved budget, one is unlikely to have a successful and business-supported upgrade.
Please add your thoughts to the comments. Questions to answer include:
- What are my organization's IT or corporate and business requirements for Upgrades and how might that affect our process to upgrade Kronos Workforce Central?
- How is the budget tied to our upgrade and are bonuses attached?
- How did our last Kronos upgrade go? Did we learn anything that will improve the process this time?
Are you preparing for an implementation or upgrading Kronos to Version 8.0?
Download our whitepaper "Successful WFM Implementation Strategies" for more information on how to get the most ROI out of your upgrade or implementation.