Our Top 7 Project Management Lessons Learnt – and Advice for Global Cloud HCM Implementations

, Created on December 8, 2021
Last updated on August 1st, 2022 at 9:51 am by Sergio Redondo

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra.” – H.E. Luccock

The global cloud HCM implementation’s fast pace requires that alignment and expectations are set from the beginning within the sales phase. The customer needs to understand what they bought, and both the customer and the implementation partner (project management team) need to agree on a realistic implementation from a scope, timeline, resources, etc. perspective.

1. Stakeholder and Work-Council Engagement

Stakeholder and work-council engagement is key to project success. They need to be kept up to date from the beginning of the project, understanding what is being implemented, process alignment, data security and audit, etc. This will allow them to provide the level of support required, sponsorship, sign-off, etc.

Not being aligned can cause important delays and an impact on budget, timeline, etc. and affect the quality of the project management.

2. Data Quality

One of the most important project management activities is to have the data quality to the level expected. This can be achieved only if the customer has a good understanding of the current data quality of their current legacy systems, so action plans (data cleansing, audit, etc.) can be put in place aligned with the project implementation.

The new HCM system will work based on the data quality. If the data quality is low, this will cause the customer’s organization to lose confidence having a poor end user adoption, employee experience, etc.

3. Process Alignment

Global Cloud HCM implementations mean the need to move from de-centralized processes into global and consistent processes. To achieve this, it’s critical for the customer to understand what processes are in place within the different countries, business units, etc. and assess how this can be consolidated into global processes and what could be the exceptions that need to be considered. It’s strongly recommended for this activity to be run in parallel to the product and implementation partner selection process. This will allow to match customer needs with product capabilities and simplify where possible.

If the above due diligence is not made, this can cause important delays and an impact on budget, timeline, etc.

4. Project Management Scope, Timeline and Governance

Global Cloud HCM implementations normally have extensive scope and adjusted timeline to be implemented. Therefore, it’s critical for both the customer and the implementation partner to understand and agree on the scope and timeline from the beginning.

The recommendation is to not deviate from scope during the implementation where possible. A strong customer governance needs to be put in place, so enhancements, nice to have functionality, etc. can be addressed once the project is finalized.

If the above can’t be followed, this can cause important delays and an impact on budget, timeline, etc.

5. Resources and Level of Knowledge

Resource availability with the right level of knowledge can make the difference between a successful and a failed implementation. Global cloud HCM implementations expand beyond the need to identify a project team. There are normally high number of countries in scope that need to be engaged within the project within several activities (global process alignment, testing, sign-off, etc.) and therefore the adequate resource structure needs to be put in place.

If the above can’t be followed, this can cause important delays and an impact on budget, timeline, etc.

6. Communication, Change Management and Training

A big mistake is to focus on the implementation per se, aligning processes, testing, etc. and forget key activities like communication, change management and training. These need to be run in parallel to the implementation to ensure that employees, managers, etc. are ready to use the solution by when go-live is achieved.

If the above can’t be followed, this can cause issues towards poor end user adoption, employee experience, etc.

7. Project Management Support Model

Often the support model preparation activities are not started until late in the project, which is a big mistake. The recommendation is to identify from the project team members who will be the administrators at the beginning of the implementation. These will allow them to have the right knowledge and expertise, so they can support the solution once is live.


Understanding the complexity of these global cloud HCM implementations will allow to plan carefully and ahead of time. This will reduce the risks and unknowns as much as possible before the implementation starts, leading into the path of success.

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