Evaluating PS 9.2: Project Scope, Business Process Innovation, Organizational Change Management

The underlying assumption in the last blog was that there are definite benefits to upgrading your PeopleSoft system.  I provided a URL so you could spend time reviewing the long list of new features and functions in order to identify the potential big benefits to your organization. This blog looks at setting the project scope, how PeopleSoft 9.2 can support your Business Process Innovation (BPI) effort, and the value of Organization Change Management (OCM).

Project Scope:I’ve led my share of projects and have provided (and continue to provide) executive oversight on even more. One of the things I’ve learned is the critical importance of clearly specifying the project scope.  I use these three questions as guidelines when evaluating what is in/out for a project:

  1. Does it contribute to the organization’s objectives (expense containment, revenue generating, strategic advantage, employee engagement, etc.)?
  2. Does it fit within the organization’s restrictions (staffing, timing, other expenditures, or competing projects)?
  3. Does the overall project scope produce results within a reasonable time period? I prefer to break up long projects into shorter ones, each with meaningful deliverables.

Next, document what is going to be done.  Then, after the detailed project scope is set, when you add something, take something off.  Communicate the project scope to everyone associated to the project; i.e., the project sponsor, project team members, project stake holders – everyone.

BPI – Business Process Innovation:  One of the frequent “asks” made of me is to help a client with BPI.  Most of my clients want to go beyond moving to an externally defined “best practice/process”. While they want to move to a best practice that will work for their organization, they don’t necessarily want to do everything the same way that everyone else is doing it.  My clients want to move to a leading practice. This requires finding a balance between efficiency, controls and simplicity in their particular environment so that the result is not just improvement, but innovation. 

PeopleSoft 9.2 supports this idea and doesn’t force an organization to adopt a single “best” practice – a practice that everyone else uses and you can do this with just configuration.   PS 9.2 provides its users with “Activity Guides”.  Think of a visual guide that shows users exactly where they are in a transaction and what’s next.  This powerful tool also allows users to configure processes – making one step optional and another required.  The guides/steps include workflow and approvals. BPI brings benefits to an organization, and PS 9.2 provides a comprehensive approach to reaching a leading practice that’s best for your organization.

OCM – Organization Change Management: If you’ve seen any demo of PS 9.2, I think you’ll agree that it’s different (and that’s good). However, because it is different, a common reaction from people is resistance – they don’t always want change.  If you’ve managed any projects, you’ve experienced this resistance, and probably included tasks for communication in the project plan to address this need.  Clients then generally ask, “How much communication is required?”, “what will it cost?”, “how will we benefit?”  They’re asking the value of change management/communications.

There is a strong ROI for organizations that adeptly use change management. A number of studies[i] have compared hundreds of projects that have fully used OCM to those that have used limited OCM to those that haven’t used OCM at all.  These studies show improved likelihood of completing the project on time, in scope, on budget, with engaged users when OCM is used. Specifically,

  • Meeting project objectives increased 6 times with great change management vs. poor
  • Adhering to the project schedule is 5 times more likely with great change management
  • Staying within the project budget is twice as likely with great change management

Prosci.org provides independent research data on the impact of change management over many years and hundreds of projects.  Visit http://www.change-management.com/tutorial-case-mod4.htm for more in-depth data and discussion of the value of change management. One of the most gratifying quotes I’ve heard came from a client who fully utilized OCM on their project,  “We had more calls to our help desk thanking us for the new PS than everything else combined.” The take away here is change management does have real costs for labor and materials however, there are more than offsetting real savings that make OCM an important element of a successful project plan.

Next week I’ll discuss two proprietary services of Sierra-Cedar, our HCM Benchmarking and Strategic HCM Roadmap services.

As always, feel free to contact me at PS9.2@Sierra-Cedar.com if you have comments or questions.

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