The HRIS Implementation Project

The development of a project management plan relies on several issues. One of these elements is the development of an accurate objective, or set of objectives in the project. Usually, the preparatory phase of any project determines its potential for success. In the case of GenRays, the interviews with various section leaders formed a crucial component of the preparations geared towards the installation of an HRIS system.

This paper looks at various facets of the HRIS implementation project. The first section deals with the management of the project. This covers the overall project governance structure and the organization of the project team. The second section deals with the communication needs of the stakeholders of the project.

The final section deals with the communication needs that will arise when the project closes. In Brief, the HRIS project deals with the implementation of an HRIS system at GenRays. This report is the project plan emanating from the preparation process.

Management of the Project

The management of a project takes place contextually. This is why there is need to look at both the project governance structure and the project management structure. The distinction between these two elements of the project management is in the orientation and context of work.

There are decisions made by the project initiators dealing with the definition of scope, assignment of resources and controlling the overall issues affecting the project. On the other hand, a project also requires a project manager to deal with the day-to-day processes that constitute the project.

The project requires two main functionaries to form the overall project governance structure. These are the Senior Review Board and the Project Implementation Teams. The Senior Review Board functions like the board of any organization. This body holds the management of the project management team to account. It ensures that at all times, the project remains focused on the core issues.

Usually, a Senior Review Board meets periodically during the life of the project and deals with the overall issues surrounding resources, scope, and deliverables. Generally, the Senior Review Board consists of the people who carry the greatest responsibility towards the organization’s stakeholders. In the GenRays case, the Senior Review Board will consist of people who report to the shareholders of the organization.

Within the context of project governance, the project team is the one that eventually deals with the specific tasks associated to the project. This means that the project team carries the burden of delivering the project outcomes.

Based on its main functions, the project team consists of the professionals and the technical personnel needed to complete the tasks of the project. The project team works towards ensuring that the project operates within the constraints defined by the Senior Review Board.

The project manager sits in the Senior Review Board as a respondent because the project manager bears final accountability in regards to the delivery of the project objectives. He also heads the project management team, which consists of the project team leaders.

The project management structure of the HRIS project will have five main team members, and will have three functional teams. In effect, the main product of the process will come from a vendor. The purpose of this team is to ensure that that all the vendors who will supply the required HRIS will do it according to specifications.

The members of the project management team will be the project sponsor, who shall also be a member of the Senior Review Board. Other members will be the project manager and three team leaders.

Explanation of Roles and Responsibilities

The role of the sponsor is to represent the interest of the organization on an ongoing basis within the Project Management Committee. In reality, the sponsor will not sit on the committee regularly, but will keep an eye on the activities of the project committee by reviewing weekly activity reports developed by the project manager.

The project manager will carry the bulk of the project work. The project manager will answer to the Senior Review Board in relation to the activities undertaken for the project. The project manager is in charge of planning, resource allocation, monitoring, and evaluation of the progress of the project, and time management.

The project manager is already on record having interviewed the management of the company in relation to their expectations of what the HRIS should achieve for the company. This demonstrates the role the project manager will play in relation to collation of issues, and communication of the results during the life of the HRIS project.

The project will need three team leaders to function effectively. Each of the team leaders will be in charge of the functional teams in the project. The first team leader will head the IT team. Fundamentally, the HRIS system is an IT system. The company’s IT department must fully understand the technical aspects of the HRIS system. In addition, the IT department will review how the HRIS system will interact and integrate with the existing systems.

The second team leader will head the HR technical team. The HRIS is essentially an HR system. There is need to ensure that the systems the vendors will supply will meet all the regular needs of the HR department in addition to achieving the level of performance anticipated by various stakeholders.

The capabilities sought by the company from the anticipated HRIS system are by no means exhaustive, since there are functions that the existing systems carry out efficiently. In this sense, there is need to determine whether the intended system will have the same level of functionality, or whether it may create new problems.

The third team leader will head the finance team. Part of the project work will call for the seeking of and the consideration of tenders. In addition, the project will need to have someone who can keep track of the use of finances by various project activities. This expertise, among others related to the financial components of the company already exists in various departments within the company.

Apart from the fixed teams, there will be a need to involve some stakeholders to the HRIS system in the process. The nature of their input is such that it is not prudent to request them to join the dedicated project team. However, their participation will be crucial during the system design, and later during the system testing, perhaps through consultative forums.

Recommended Project Team Members

The proposed team leader of the finance team is Morgan from the Purchasing department. Morgan was a project manager of team that defined and implemented the centralized system for finance, purchasing, logistics, and accounting. Morgan’s experience will offer two main benefits for the project. The first benefit is the experience gained during the implementation project of the centralized financial system.

This project will need the experience related to the implementation of an IT system in the company. Secondly, Morgan will double up as the representative of the finance department in the project. Drew, from the procurement department will be part of the consultative group under Morgan’s leadership.

The proposed team leader for the IT Team is Ashton. Ashton has masters degree in engineering and computer sciences. Ashton helps with tech support for those in the organizations office. Ashton fits the bill because of his current role of assisting everyone in the organization on IT issues. This means that he has the widest understanding of the issues related to usability of IT systems, as well as the technical issues that underpin these systems.

In this sense, he can offer practical input relating to the IT needs of the organization and how best to implement these systems to make them usable and hassle-free. The IT team will also include Kendall who specializes in the development of code. In addition, Kendall participated in the implementation of the centralized system for finance, purchasing, logistics, and accounting.

The proposed HR team leader is Madison. Madison was part of the team composed to define and implement centralized system for finance, logistics, and accounting in the organization. Madison has experience in the previous project. She is familiar with the issues relating to the implementation of the proposed HRIS. Her main contribution would be her expertise in HR issues, which is the core of the HRIS system.

From the resources available from HR, she is the only one who participated in the implementation of the centralized system for finance, purchasing, logistics, and accounting. It would however be beneficial to the project to include Haley and Casey as part of the HR team. Their combined experience would add value to the project.

In conclusion, it is important to note that the involvement of the entire HR department is very important, either as part of a consultative forum or by way of a questionnaire. The HRIS system is primarily a HR system, hence there is need to ensure that it meets all the primary needs of the HR department.

Communication Plan

There are five key stakeholders in this project. The main internal stakeholders are the management of the organization. The management qualifies as stakeholders because they are the sponsors of the project. Its success has an impact on shareholder relations.

The first duty of the managers is to protect the interests of the shareholders hence their designation as stakeholders. Secondly, the management holds influence in as far as availing resources for the project goes. The project has a greater chance of success if there is goodwill from the management.

The second category of internal stakeholders is the HR department. The HRIS system will affect HR operations more than any other department. In addition, their participation in the project will determine the acceptance levels and the ownership of the HRIS throughout the organization.

The IT department is also an important stakeholder in the implementation of the HRIS system. The cooperation of the IT department will influence the effectiveness of implementation of the HRIS, in terms of usability and system integration. In addition, all maintenance aspects will first fall into the hands of the HR department in the post installation period.

Among the external stakeholders in the project, are the potential recruits. They are a unique class of stakeholders because the organization will use the HRIS system to ease their absorption into the organization. As such, the HRIS implemented needs to address the concerns of the potential recruits. In addition, it must make it easier for them to access the services that the HRIS system will offer to them.

Finally, the shareholders of the organization are also an important group of stakeholders. This system must create shareholder value in a sense that may not fully result from the efforts of the management.

Completion of Communication Plan Template

Document Author or Originator Required Date or Frequency Key Internal/ External
Stakeholders
Action Required
(I,C,A)
Comments
Project plan Project manager At project inception Company management A The project manager needs to develop a comprehensive project plan that shows how he plans to use the allocated resources to deliver the objectives of the project
Project schedule Project manager At project inception Company management A A schedule will form the basis of accountability of time management in the project.
Project brief Project Manager At the inception of the project Shareholders I This will be an overview of the project intended to give an idea to shareholders what the company seeks to achieve through the project
Activity reports Project Team leaders Weekly Project manager C These reports will give the project manager an up-to-date report on each task the teams handle
Summarized activity reports Project manager Weekly Company management C The project manager will prepare activity reports to give stakeholders a status update of the progress of the project
Phase Report Project manager At the end of each deliverable Company management C A phase report will enable the management to see the progress made towards the achievement of the deliverables pointed out.
Financial Reports Project finance manager Weekly, and at the end of each phase Company management A This report will keep track of financial management in the project

Key: I: Information only; C: For review and comments; A: For review and approval

Table 1: Communication Plan

Explanation of Key Information Needs for all Stakeholders

The Project Plan is the basic information that the Senior Review Board mainly composed of the company’s management require to play its role in the project. It carries all the vital information in relation to the project objectives, and the methods that the Project Management Committee plans to use to meet these objectives.

The Project Schedule is an important part of the project document that the project manager needs to put in place before the project commences. Usually this forms part of the project document. However, the project schedule is very dynamic especially where the project relies on the input of third parties.

This project anticipates the use of software from a vendor to implement the HRIS. This may have an impact on the schedule. This illustrates the importance of dealing with the schedule as a separate document since it is liable to change.

The Project Brief will be ideal for informing the shareholders of the developments in the organization. The brief will be a highly summarized and non-technical description of the project. Its purpose is purely informative. It can form part of a press release targeting the shareholders.

The project brief is also an ideal way of passing on the information relating to the project to other non-critical stakeholders such as potential vendors to raise their interest in the tendering process later in the life of the project.

The team leaders also need to prepare Activity Reports to summarize their progress. The individual Activity Reports helps the project manager to determine whether the project is on time, and whether the project still has focus. They also form the basis of preparing an overall report meant for the project sponsor.

The requirement to prepare weekly Activity Reports comes from the realization that it is imperative to prepare periodical reports that show the intensity of project activities within the period under review.

The Project manager will prepare a summary of Activity Reports meant for the attention of the principal sponsor of the project. It is necessary to keep the Senior Review Board in the loop by some form of brief regular report showing the progress of the project. In this way, members of the Senior Review Board can advocate for course correction in the event that the project management team digresses from the project’s focus.

Phase Reports are more detailed. They offer greater analysis of the outcomes of the project and carry out an evaluation of a completed phase. These reports eventually contribute towards the development of the final project report. Their role will be to provide the Project Management Committee and the Senior Review Board with the opportunity to determine whether the project is achieving the intended goals.

The Financial Report, developed by the financial manager serves to show whether the project is within budget. This report also shows whether the allocated funds are sufficient to complete the project. In big projects, the successful completion of a phase of the project usually contributes to the decision to release the next round of funding.

How Information Meets Stakeholder Needs

Most of the information that these documents provide meet different types of stakeholder needs. Depending on the stakeholder, each of the reports meets a different need. The main stakeholder needs are the need for information, the need for control and the need to advice.

The need for information arises out of the relationship of the stakeholder to the project. For instance, the shareholders need to know how their money is spent. This means that every substantial investment that requires huge expenditure, just like every initiative that can reduce expenses, has an impact on returns. It is vital to inform the shareholders about these activities.

The need to control belongs to senior management who initiate a project. These people answer directly to the shareholders. It is important for them to retain a certain amount of control in the development and management of the project.

Finally, the need to advice arises from the impact of the project on the day-to-day activities of some of the stakeholders. In this case, the project will affect the operations of the IT department and the HR department. The HRIS system will alter the procedures used to manage HR processes. The IT department will also have new challenges to deal with in order learn how to manage the new system.

Topics for Presentation to Stakeholders

At the end of the project, there will be a need to address the following topics with various groups of stakeholders. The first topic is the benefits of the new HRIS system. It is probable that all the stakeholders will be aware of the benefits that will arise from the use of the HRIS system.

However, there will be need to clearly articulate these benefits to each of the stakeholder based on the final installation made by the vendors. It will empower each of the stakeholders to know what they can expect from the HRIS.

The second topic that will be important to address is the projected difficulties of using the new HRIS system. The rationale for this topic is partly to manage the expectations of all the stakeholders. From the interviews, it was clear that all stakeholder groups have very high expectations in regards to the capabilities of the HRIS system.

It is important to discuss these difficulties with the IT department because they will be the ones maintaining the system as the first line of defense against system failures. Clarity on difficulties the system will present will be crucial in promoting acceptance, and ensuring that the users concentrate on the useful aspect of the project.

The third topic that will be important to discuss with all the stakeholders is the limitations of the HRIS system. This stems from the realization that the system will have some limitation imposed by technical capacity, budget, and the sheer number of expectations raised by various stakeholders. The difference between difficulties and limitations is in the capacity and use of the HRIS system.

Difficulties refer the complexity of systems and the ease of use. Limitations refer to capacity issues. For instance, is there are upper limit to the number of employees that can log in to the system simultaneously without adversely affecting its functionality?

The fourth topic that must feature in the final report is the management needs of the HRIS system. The system will require data to function. Failure to implement data acquisition systems will render the system useless. Issues of data security come to mind because of the intention to collect not just employees’ data, but also data relating to potential interns.

It is important for all stakeholders to understand the administrative procedure for use to access the HRIS. The IT department will appoint system administrators to deal with IT administration issues. It is important for them to understand what authority they have over various components of the system.

The final topic of discussion is the costs associated with running the HRIS system. Since many departments hope to extract higher level information at a faster rate, there is need to discuss the costs associated with the acquisition of new systems.

Cost in this context refers to the impact on resources. For instance, if the system will form part of the recruitment exercise, then there is a need to calculate the associated resource allocation prior to the installation of the system, and the new associated cost. In addition, there is need to determine the human cost of operating the HRIS system.

References

Meredeth, J. R., & Mantel, S. J. (2011). Project Management: A Managerial Approach (8 ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Phillips, J. (2010). IT Project Management. New York: McGraw Hill Professional.