Okay you have chosen a compensation management package to implement in your organization, now comes the part where the rubber begins to hit the road. You have plans you want to implement, you have numerous employees who you want to motivate, track performance on, and compensate. You have transaction data available that you want to work with and most importantly you have a shiny new sales performance management system that you want to make sing.
What is next?
- You need to have some early implementation discussions
- You need to nail down the scope of what you will implement
- You need to get buy in for the project.
- You need to communicate how the project will be run and what all the participants will be responsible for.
- Finally, you need to state when the team will deliver their pieces.
So what are you going to discuss prior to kick off?
Who do you want to compensate in the new system? Do you want to pay to implement every plan your organization has or just the plans that are complicated? Perhaps you only want to include the ones that represent the vast majority of your sales team?
Okay, you more or less know who you want to pay variable compensation to via the new system. The next question is what parts of the plans need to be in scope? Does everything go into the system or just the items that are highly repeatable? Some parts of the compensation, like management business objectives (MBO), are difficult to track using the off the shelf packages as the varied metrics encountered by employee are not easily configured into the systems. In many cases MBOs will be tracked and calculated outside of the system rather than spending time configuring the system to automatically calculate a component that is specific to one or two employees.
Which geographic regions are you going cover in your implementation? Will it be a global implementation, or are you just looking at a single market like the United States or maybe just a region like Texas. The where you are going to implement has consequences like data security limitations and international currency requirements.
Also you need to ask where will your project team be located? Will the entire team be located in the same physical location for the entire project, or will your team be virtual but in the same time zone, or will you have a global virtual team working asynchronously across multiple time zone? Where the team is locate will definitely impact how you manage, track, communicate, and ultimately deliver the project.
When do you need to “go live” by? Is there enough time to get everything configured and tested to allow your organization to calculate compensation records by the go live date? Knowing when you want to hand the keys over to the end users is not enough. You also need to ask when will the end users be trained to work with the system? When will the client be ready to take the wheel and drive on their own?
Before you get to a kick off meeting you need to clearly communicate the need and expectations of the project. If the stakeholders and project participants don’t understand the importance of the project and how committed management is to the project, you increase the risk of the implementation getting delayed or going over budget because sufficient importance is not being placed on your deliverables or the project in general.
Does your organization plan to implement the system alone, will you work with consultants from the vendor, or will you bring in experienced third party consultants?
How much time are you going to get from your organization’s end users, how much input will you get from the internal consumers of the data? How much internal input and assistance will you need?
Lastly, how do you plan to run the application post go live? Will you take on all the tasks internally or will you utilize business process outsourcing for a period of time or perhaps indefinitely. Has any consideration been given to lower cost approaches such as same time zone nearshoring?
Get Buy in and Communicate
You have the scope nailed down, so what’s next? The kickoff meeting is typically considered the official start of the project for. What is the purpose of such a meeting? You need to have a meeting with all the stakeholders and let them know what you are going to actually be doing on your project. You want to take this opportunity to an develop an understanding and to build buy in. How do you do make sure that happens? Executive or Management Sponsor needs to be in the meeting to show a commitment to the project and the money that has been spent and will be spent. Obviously the bigger the project the more senior the person will be who will actually show that level of commitment in your kick off meeting. If your project is smaller and has a smaller budget you may not actually get the CIO in your meeting. It has typically been our experience that the more senior person you can get to show the commitment level of the organization the better. Stakeholders definitely pay attention to that messaging.
During the kick off you will communicate all the who, what, where, when, why’s and how we discussed above. If you are lucky there may even be a happy hour afterwards to help with team building.