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As an HR leader, you may be preparing for a new people technology project. Perhaps you’re still in the early planning stages, building a business case, or close to selecting your preferred vendor and solution. If you’ve been well advised up to this stage, you’ll know that assembling a capable project team around you is critical, if not the #1 key to project success.

In a previous article, ‘7 tips for getting excited about HR tech projects,’ we underscored the importance of carefully selecting your crew for this project. Not only is it crucial to have a team with the right blend of skills and experience, but it’s also vital that your team enjoys working together. And know how to have a bit of fun along the way! A cohesive project team is more likely to overcome obstacles, come up with innovative solutions, and steer the project to success.

The earlier you can onboard these resources onto your people transformation project, the greater chance of ensuring their commitment throughout what may be a mulit year journey. In this article, we’ll give you insight into the essential roles you need for Cloud HR projects, based on Pinpoint’s experience on over 650 projects.

While the specific roles required may vary across different organisations and depend on the project’s complexity, having these eight key capabilities as part of your team will underpin the success of your HR tech project.

1. Executive Sponsor: Your Project’s Guiding Light

The project sponsor is the most critical person to get onboard. Ideally, this person should be a member of the Executive or Senior Leadership. This demonstrates the project’s importance to the business. As the conduit to other executives, the project sponsor ensures the alignment with business priorities and steers it through the necessary governance processes. Learn more in this article ‘The Role of the Executive Sponsor: Your HR Tech Project’s Guiding Light‘.

2. Business Stakeholders: Bringing the Business Perspective

Early engagement of your business stakeholders will prove highly valuable. Their input informs the design and selection of the solution, and their involvement keeps the business perspective top of mind for the project team. This is key during the roll-out of the change to the workforce. Without their perspective, the project can be seen as an HR initiative for HR’s benefit.

3. Domain Experts: The Core of Your Crew

It’s a common mistake to expect current HR, Payroll or Workforce Management resources to contribute to and even manage the project while also doing their day job. The most effective approach is to provide these experienced domain teams with additional support (via backfill), allowing them to focus on the project either full-time or for a fixed amount of time each week.

Having stream leads to coordinate the various domain experts over the course of the project can also be valuable. This is typically only needed where the project has broad scope, is complex or has large employee numbers.

4. Project Manager: The Driving Force For Success

A strong Project Manager with experience in HR transformation projects is one of your most invaluable resources. They should have the gravitas to engage with senior stakeholders in your organisation, and have the relevant people technology experience. Engaging your PM around the time you’ve identified your preferred vendor is highly recommended.

5. Change Manager: Champion of Clear Communication

A creative and skilful Change Manager, committed (at least part-time) from the beginning of the project, will help drive user adoption, a key determinant of project success. This person should have experience rolling out people transformation initiatives, and truly understand what it takes to make your solution ‘sticky’ well beyond go-live.

 6. IT Representative: The Agile Tech Whisperer

Cloud technology implementations require a shift from traditional on-premise software projects, demanding a greater level of agility and adaptability. The IT contributor and collaborator is an integral part of the team. If engaged early on, they can provide support in an evolving landscape where IT’s role is to enable, not drive. The IT rep works closely with HR, the custodians of the project, facilitating their journey towards successful project completion.

7. System Analyst: The Tech-Savvy HR Expert

The System Analyst, is the linchpin of the operation in BAU. Deftly maneuvering between the needs of HR, Payroll and the workforce to the technical demands of the system. This role transcends typical admin duties and requires an understanding of HR processes, solution expertise, how change is managed and a focus on system utilisation. This is not just an analyst or administrator. But an HR-savvy tech enthusiast who will be instrumental from the project’s inception to its implementation and beyond.

8. Cloud HR Tech Expert: Your Guru and your Guide

In the rapidly evolving Cloud HR market, vendors each offer a unique set of strengths and limitations. Having an HR tech expert on your team can not only help guide you through the many choices during the vendor evaluation stage, but also lend their experience during the planning, design and delivery phase. They won’t just be a guide; they’ll be both your compass and your roadmap. Offering clarity and reality on project resources, timelines, and the hidden challenges vendors might not reveal.


Assembling your Dream Team: The Next Steps

Creating a working or advisory group made up of these 8 key stakeholders from the outset sets the stage for a highly effective HR tech project team. This diverse group can serve as the evaluation panel in the early stages and also evolve into the governance model as the project progresses.

We recommend creating a detailed resource plan early on to establish when and where these resources will be needed on the project and how much effort is expected from them. This will ensure you seek adequate funding in your business case to resource the project properly.

But the journey doesn’t end with the project’s implementation. Your resources play a key role beyond go-live. It’s quite likely elements of your project team will endure in BAU. They may form an innovation think tank that continues to guide the evolution and optimisation of your HR tech operations. Having a team in place like this in BAU can help you stay ahead of the curve, readily adapting to new needs and technologies as they emerge.

By investing in this dream team, you’re investing in the future of your workforce. This is more than just a project; it’s the opportunity to shape the way HR technology contributes to your organisation’s success in the long term.

So, as you embark on your next HR tech project, consider these roles carefully. They may be the missing pieces you need to transform your project from a one-off implementation into a powerful, ongoing force for innovation and business improvement.

About the Author

Hayley Parker, Head of Strategic Projects, Pinpoint HRM
Hayley Parker, Head of Strategic Projects, Pinpoint HRM
Since joining Pinpoint 6 years ago, Hayley has been involved in the successful design and delivery of Pinpoint HR Tech projects with clients such as MinterEllison, TFE Hotels and Sanitarium. Prior to Pinpoint, she spent 10 years consulting at the executive level with companies such as Qantas, Jemena, QBE and Snowy Hydro on enterprise-wide transformation programs.
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