Six reasons why projects fail. Planning the implementation of your HR software project

Just because you’ve invested in new HR software doesn’t mean it will solve all your problems. In fact, most projects fail to deliver to their full potential.


It’s a depressing statistic, but research from the IT research specialist Standish Group suggests that less than 50% of software projects in large organisations will meet their objectives, while accountancy giant KPMG reports that less than 40% of projects have delivered the full value that was projected.

The most common reason for this is poor project management, says Mark Blowers, a senior research analyst at Butler Group.

“Trying to manage a large project with complex, changing requirements and lots of people involved is a difficult thing to get right, and it’s important not to underestimate what’s involved,” he says.

Most of the project management mistakes made when deploying HR software are down to either a lack of adequate planning or breakdowns in communication between the project team and business sponsors – and mistakes can completely derail your project. So what are the biggest mistakes in project management and how do you avoid them when implementing your HR software project?

1. Not preparing the groundwork
There’s a saying in technology circles: ‘rubbish in equals rubbish out’. No matter how great your new HR software is, if data is old and duplicated, or if workflow processes are inefficient, then you’ll simply end up with automated bad processes and data at the other end.

2. Not dedicating enough resource
One of the most common reasons that projects fail is that the right people with the right skills weren’t involved at the right time. Project managers need to conduct skills assessments at the planning stage to ensure they know exactly what’s needed to successfully roll out HR software, and to build the project into employees’ workloads.

3. Nobody tracks changes
Remember that every change you make to the way an HR software system works costs time and money. You must evaluate each change to consider whether the cost of implementing the change outweighs the benefit of the change. And don’t underestimate how your little change to the payroll software’s interface might impact on the integration with the finance system.

To avoid problems, have a strict change request process, to ensure any deviations from the agreed plan are properly requested, approved and recorded.

4. Underestimating people issues
Countless IT projects fail because the project management team focus on getting the software installed and running, and then realise they forget to tell the employees about the expensive new software on their computers. Don’t forget to incorporate employee communication, training and support into the project plan.

5. Not learning from mistakes
Using a project management software application allows you to capture everything that is done through a project. This is important in many ways, but one of the best benefits is that it lets you capture knowledge gained through the project, and ensure that mistakes made aren’t repeated next time.

6. Not considering Murphy’s Law
If something can go wrong, it usually will. As part of the project planning process, consider a risk assessment. What happens if there’s a flood, a strike, a power cut? Brainstorm what could go wrong, and put in place plans to remove or reduce any risks you identify.

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