The successful delivery of any project is grounded in having the right skills and the right people, and it is especially true for workforce management transformation

Behind every successful project, there is a suitability experienced team capable of delivering a quality outcome. The more challenging the project, the greater this requirement is.

When planning the project resource profile, the aim of the business should be to have the right people in the right place at the right time. With the complexities of a Workforce Management (WFM) project, these resource metrics become even more critical.

So what specific skills are required within a program team to ensure that a WFM project is set up for success?

Including Change when Defining a Fit-for-Purpose Implementation Strategy

We’ve worked with numerous clients to review, recover, and set-up WFM projects for success. Over the years, the specific skills that make a real difference – and when they are required – to ensure the success or otherwise of a WFM project have become quite evident, particularly what the skills are and when they are needed.

Before the project team begins to be resourced, the first step is to ensure the strategy has been defined and the executives and management have been aligned before proceeding to the task of setting the project up for success. Defining an implementation approach that is based on the client’s capability, culture and constraints is imperative. In WFM, a cookie-cutter approach will not realise the benefits.

Every organisation has different skills, awards, geographical locations, legacy data, skills and capability in the elements of WFM. This includes pay awards, scheduling, exception management, centralised versus local management etc.

Every organisation has its own permutations of the above. They will also have a unique project delivery DNA and a successful implementation must work within this construct. This means significant change challenges and is why change management input is critical when developing the WFM implementation strategy. It can be as important, if not more so, than the actual software solution required for WFM.

Skills required: Change management professionals experienced in the sector and in WFM

Identify the Right Software and Vendors

WFM experts work with clients to capture and define the high-level requirements and processes of their organisation in order to go to market and undertake RFP evaluation and selection. In large and complex organisations, there is rarely a perfect one-size-fits-all solution. Understanding the prioritised business needs and the limitations (actual limitations, not just what the vendors say) is critical in setting up for success.

In addition, trying to squeeze a square peg software solution into a round hole by heavy customisation  is typically a road to excessive costs, long delays and often failure.

In-house SMEs are essential at this point, as are skilled enterprise and solutions architects. Defining the end-to-end architecture (Rostering to Pay, including all integration points), ensuring that all parties understand it and have agreed is also critical. If the skills are not available in-house, then third party independent WFM experts can facilitate the procurement process and ensure that the guiding principles for selection are agreed and can be applied in the evaluation.

Note: As with any RFP, to get the best result it is important the people running the RFP are truly independent and not aligned to any one vendor.

Skills required: In-House WFM SMEs, Solution Architects & Independent WFM experts

WFM Data Assessment and Data Strategy

Understanding the value of data in the WFM context, particularly the continuum that runs from strategy to operations and through the layers of data governance, vendor/tool selection and infrastructure is a critical success enabler. This is often overlooked and certainly underestimated – yet critical – part of a WFM project.

A holistic, strategic approach to organisational data, information and knowledge provides:

  • a data maturity evaluation;
  • enables an understanding of the current state;
  • outlines the roadmap for a future state; and
  • defines the gaps and steps to get there.

Ensuring that the WFM data strategy is set up for success by aligning business strategy, enterprise data strategy, people, policies and processes within the organisation is also a major success enabler

Skills Required: Data Architects, Business SMEs, Data Modelling and Migration specialists & WFM Business Analysts

Successful Delivery

As in any project, all of the standard guiding principles for successful WFM project delivery apply, as we’ve covered in previous project management articles.

In WFM projects, there is a special need to have embedded change management that is sponsored by the business and ensures alignment between the technology, business and change teams, who will need to work in a highly collaborative manner.

From a governance perspective, this means that the sponsor of the project must sit in the right (business) area of the organisation, rather than the CIO or indeed the CFO.  The sponsor should be part of a team that is likely to experience the greatest impact, such as the COO or even CEO, given that workforce management transformation tends to impact the entire organisation.

Skill required: Integrated Change, Business and Technology Sponsorship

The Difference Between Success and Failure: People and Skills

As always, success for WFM programs relies on the right expertise at the right time within the right structure: it can make the difference between success or failure. The risk of failure is multiplied in complex projects, which is where WFM projects typically fall.

Whilst the above overview is not exhaustive, we hope it provides a good guide to the thinking that should be taking place when embarking on WFM Transformation and the skills required at each critical phase of the project.

As project specialists, we develop fit-for-purpose strategy and workforce management.  Contact us here to find out more about how we work with your teams or call 02 9098 6300.

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About Quay

Quay Consulting
Quay Consulting is a professional services business specialising in the project landscape, transforming strategy into fit-for-purpose delivery. Meet our team ...