Project Milestones

Practical Execution

Project Milestones. Do you set them or do they set you?

There’s nothing like a deadline to get you focused. How many times have we heard that said or maybe even said it ourselves within the context of implementing HR technology? And to be sure deadlines are important and are indeed necessary to monitor the progress of a project and keep it on track. But how are these dates set?

We were once engaged with a project after the third time a go-live was missed to try and determine what was going wrong. After some investigation we learned that the project sponsor would meet with all parties, internal, implementation partners, business stakeholders, etc., and then would set a go live date. When asked how the go live date was being determined the answer from the project sponsor was very telling. Essentially after all inputs were taken into consideration the new go live date was set arbitrarily with the rationalization that if the date was set earlier than the plan predicted the project team would stay focused and rise to the occasion to meet the date! That may fall into the category of it sounds good on paper but in reality the execution left something to be desired.

The result of this approach was not only missed go live dates and almost all other milestones, but it also left the project team demoralized knowing the timeframes were unrealistic.

Once our senior consultants had the opportunity to review the project plan from the implementation partner and then coordinate with the internal Client-side team and after only a few calibration meetings a new, realistic project plan was set and new go-live date established. The project sponsor was very gracious and supported the new milestones.

With hope restored that the time line was realistic the team went to work and indeed met the next established go- live date!

The moral of the story, don’t let the dates set you up to fail by picking dates based on feel not fact. Instead, set the dates based on a detailed project plan, manage to that plan, adjust where necessary, and make your project successful!

Need help setting a realistic time line for your project? Contact us.

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