What is your HCM implementation Game Plan? Lessons from the NBA
By Adrian Grbavac, EVP of Services, Ceridian
As I reflect on this memorable season by the Toronto Raptors, I can’t help but see the parallels between the game of basketball and the world of HCM implementations. The importance of proper planning, execution, teamwork and management all contribute to the positive outcome we’re looking for, whether on the hardcourt or in the business world.
What is your Game Plan?
In the world of professional sports, assembling a championship-caliber team is a multi-year effort and starts with bringing in the right management, coaching staff, and a unique blend of talented youth and battle-proven veterans. Luckily with HCM projects, the planning process is usually measured in weeks and months, and not years. Similarly, bringing together the right resources on both the client and vendor side is paramount to success.
The Power of Team
Every NBA team has a core group of players that start each game, their “Starting 5”. Players may rotate in and out of the Starting 5, due to a number of factors – injury, trades, match-ups, etc. But the key is that the Head Coach relies heavily on these core team members to set the tone early, and to be the go-to players when the game is on the line. They play a critical role, but championship teams do not win on individual efforts alone; they require the help of a supporting cast. With HCM implementations, assembling the core project team as well as the supporting cast are critical to project success. On the Client side, this starts with an Executive Sponsor who sets the strategic direction and priority of the project, and keeps the team on track when day-to-day responsibilities conflict with project activities. As for the project team itself, a Project Manager is assigned, as well as Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) who will own the discovery, configuration, testing, training and ultimate rollout of their respective functional areas. On the Vendor side, a similar project team structure is assigned which essentially mirrors the Client team.
The Use of Advisers
Every great sports organization relies on the input of special advisers, often bringing different perspectives and valuable experience to the mix. They know their place in the organization, but defer final decisions to the Management team and Coaching staff. Similarly, we often see Clients bring in advisers (or consultants) to assist with the implementation process. These resources can play a valuable role on the project, assisting the client through the various stages of the implementation. However, all parties should understand their roles and responsibilities early on, and there should be general agreement where ultimate ownership of project success lies.
Although a good start is important, a strong finish is critical. I look back at Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals vs Miami when Toronto took full control in the 4th quarter and ultimately won the series. It was a conscious effort on their part to leave nothing to chance, and they finished strong. As I reflect on the thousands of implementations I’ve personally been a part of, fully understanding client requirements early on is foundational and really establishes the blueprint for the work ahead. But, only upon successful “translation” of those requirements into successful Sandbox Review, User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and Training, can the client truly proclaim victory.
In HCM implementations and in sports, proper planning, deliberate team composition, strong consultants and management, and diligent execution are all critical to success at the end of the day.
Join us for one of our related conference sessions at INSIGHTS 2016 in Las Vegas (July 11-15)!
- PD106 3 Top Priorities When Preparing for Implementation
- DF163 Electro Scientific Industries, Inc. – Time for Spring Cleaning? How to Prepare for your Organization’s Dayforce HCM Implementation
As Executive Vice-President, Services, Adrian Grbavac is responsible for the operations, growth and strategy of the Implementation team. He has extensive industry experience building high-performing teams and uses proven cloud methodologies to achieve customer satisfaction. Follow him on Twitter: @