Although company size, location, and type of business may differ, all Workday implementations are essentially the same from a broad strokes perspective. They tend to follow the same implementation processes, have the same roles, and involve the same responsibilities. Of course, not every organization has someone on their staff who intimately understands the methodology behind a successful Workday implementation. That’s when bringing on a third-party expert can provide tremendous value.
Take one of our recent projects, for example. A client needed some Workday project manager (PM) assistance mid-way through their implementation, and while it’s always nice to do a job from start to finish, bringing on a PM mid-stream helped refresh the project and get it back on track. Here’s a closer look at exactly what our PM did for this client’s Workday implementation, and what you should expect from a quality PM on a project like this one.
A major non-profit association started its Workday implementation by designating an employee from their IT organization to act as PM. After several months, however, they realized that the employee was struggling to lead the project without a background in Workday methodology. Additionally, the client’s IT person/acting PM didn’t understand the business processes of the company’s human resources (HR) and payroll departments to implement those specific portions effectively.
Once the client identified the problem, they brought in our Workday PM, who quickly got them up to speed. Her general Workday knowledge, (as well as experience with the functional areas of HR and payroll), were extremely valuable in guiding the company through the entire process.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Workday PM
Our consultant served as the client-side PM on this particular project. Her role was to partner with the third-party implementer, to the point where she described them as “essentially connected at the hip.” No matter who you have as your PM—internal employee or third-party consultant—that person needs to be able to act as your trusted advisor when bridging the gap between you and your implementer.
Here are some of the specific roles and responsibilities our consultant provided as PM on this project:
Manage and Review the Timeline
A timeline is the backbone of any implementation project. A good PM will make sure that the client has an awareness of the timeline set out by the implementation consultant and that the timeline is reasonable.
The PM will lay out the roles and responsibilities for what the client will do and what’s expected of the implementation partner. Without a clear understanding (on both sides) of what’s expected from whom, mistakes you could easily avoid become almost inevitable.
Manage and Review the Statement of Work (SOW)
A strong PM will make sure that the implementer is providing the services that were identified in the SOW. On top of that, they’re responsible for keeping an eye on the expectations and hours so that they match up throughout the project.
Identify Gaps and Risks
Our client’s project team was very lean, and as the project approached the testing phase, our consultant suggested bringing on a testing lead. Surety Systems was able to provide an experienced testing lead, and our PM managed them through that part of the project, getting the client just what they needed at just the right time.
Each week, a quality PM should summarize the workstream updates and identify major milestones coming up. This helps keep everyone informed, plus, the whole process is documented. The PM also manages communications, change management, training, and acts as an additional resource for anyone on the team.
Benefits of a Third-party Workday PM
The non-profit was impressed by how our Workday PM was able to get them on track so quickly—even with the inherent challenges of bringing on a PM mid-project. Their biggest challenge was developing a realistic timeline for the implementation, so our PM helped them review their current timeline and come up with an achievable game plan.
An implementation also tends to be a very stressful time for a company, and with a lot of cooks in the kitchen, conflicts can arise. A strong PM can act as a neutral party between everyone involved, helping to walk key decision-makers through the pros and cons of different scenarios to make the best choice possible. By acting as a mediator without any skin in the game, a good PM helps clients understand what needs to happen (in a way that doesn’t ruffle any feathers).
Advice from our Workday PM
Our consultant’s best piece of advice for anyone considering a Workday implementation is to consider having someone come in and support the process at the beginning. Your employees already have a full-time job, and taking them out of that to work as PM a Workday implementation isn’t always the best use of their time.
A third-party PM who has the right skills can augment your staff and set you up for success without burning out your team, allowing them to focus on learning Workday and understanding the best practices of the tool instead. An experienced PM can also provide a sense of calm. They can be there to reassure you that everything is going right when you’re dealing with change, instead of merely hoping that it’s right (and worrying that something terrible is happening behind the scenes).
For more great advice from our consultant, check out this article to learn more about common mistakes to avoid during a Workday implementation.