Why Many HR Software Implementations Fail

Based on my years of professional experience in HR technology and implementation in particular, I’d like offer some thoughts on why software implementations fail.


In my opinion, the reason many implementations fail is actually two-fold. Either the process is made unnecessarily complicated and weighed down by bureaucracy or the overall project isn’t given enough merit and by that I mean not having the right team members in place, adequate time devoted to the project, clear cut objectives, a lack of strategic planning, and finally often saddled with a deadline that prohibits success.


The dreaded over complicated project typically drags on endlessly, is often over complicated by a series of scope calls where no one makes strategic decisions without a series of sub-meetings and second guessing. These implementations often have too many team members involved in the process which may dilute the decision making ability of the project, also called ANALYSIS PARALYSIS. Larger scale enterprise projects often fall victim to this because of the significant financial commitment made by the organization and visibility of the project to senior leadership.


The under-funded projects are the ones that want to be live yesterday, make snap decisions that likely impact the maximum functionality of the solution, and often have team members that were not involved in the selection process so there may be a lack of buy-in. These projects tend to have a lack of resources allotted to them due to staffing issues and time constraints and rarely have looked at process improvement or change management prior to beginning implementation process. At a minimum, in order to set reasonable expectations for project success, current and future state should be mapped and/or identified. Clearly outlined objectives and a realistic and attainable deadline are crucial to success.


Okay so now that I’ve scared the dickens out of you, what do I suggest for a SUCCESSFUL implementation?


The 5 P’s – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance


  • Build a team with the appropriate stakeholders representing a cross-section of the subject area impacted by the project and empower them to make decisions
  • Outline clear and measurable project goals and objectives
  • Identify areas of process improvement and have a change management and communications plan prepared
  • Set an attainable and realistic go-live date
  • Manage expectations with key stakeholders pertaining to status updates on the project. Keeping them informed of any delays and potential road-blocks will build trust.
  • Check your EGO – understand that you may not everything. Trust your partner/vendor. They are more knowledgeable on their software than you and will be able to offer suggestions and best practice advice to guide you through a successful implementation
  • Don’t be afraid ask for help or advice


While I’m in no way suggesting there won’t be a hiccup or two along the way, I’m sure using this approach will go a long way toward the a more successful software implementation.

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