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The only SAP SuccessFactors implementation checklist you need

Every project manager needs to construct a plan when approaching a new project. Check off each item on this list to see your SuccessFactors implementation through to completion.

As with any implementation project, a SuccessFactors implementation needs forethought and planning.

One company's SuccessFactors implementation can look very different from another's. There are many reasons for this. For example, each company has a unique technology landscape and they might choose different SuccessFactors modules. You'll need to take stock of your particular company's situation to understand your needs.

Still, there are some general principles. And while many may seem relevant to any technology implementation, that's only because they're so important. To that end, here's the overarching SAP SuccessFactors implementation checklist you need.

Do an overall assessment

For a SuccessFactors implementation, consider why you are doing the project and understand what resources will go into it. For example, a SuccessFactors implementation may be one of the first projects in which you've used an Agile methodology. You'll need to understand data migration and rethink your business processes to create success. You'll also want to determine potential risks to handle issues more quickly as they arise.

Get leadership buy-in

Projects that have high leadership engagement tend to be more successful than projects with little involvement from stakeholders. You're more likely to get concerns addressed quickly, and get business guidance, help with roadblocks and approval for additional resources.

Assign resources

Prior to the start of the SuccessFactors implementation project, determine the type -- both in terms of people and tools -- and number of resources you'll need. Get a commitment from the right stakeholders that they'll give you the right number of qualified employees to work on the project.

For example, having the right technical person in-house is critical even though you're working with a SuccessFactors implementation partner.

Create goals and set milestones

Documenting quality requirements are the heart of any project. You should work on these as part of the preplanning phase of your project, or "phase 0." You can then use them to figure out how you're going to structure the project.

For example, you'll need to determine who will check that the project is proceeding in line with the business goals and when these checks will happen. You'll also need to determine who will be responsible for different modules, which tasks they will each perform and when by setting milestones for employees to hit.

Determine a methodology

There are many valid project methodologies you can use to execute a SuccessFactors implementation, so it is important to select the right one. Organizations can use the SAP Activate methodology, SAP's official implementation methodology. Activate consists of processes, templates and tools. The Activate methodology includes four phases: prepare, explore, realize and deploy. Vendors can configure (though not customize) SuccessFactors to meet an organization's need. It's important to understand what is standard out of the box and what can be tailored. Organizations can also choose other methodologies. For example, an implementation partner may have developed its own.

Track progress

Once you have chosen the SuccessFactors project strategy, it is essential that you monitor the project from start to finish. Use a tool that helps you track progress effectively, so that you can proactively get the right people working on tasks. You'll also need to reassign new tasks to employees as the project develops.

Control change management

While a project may flow perfectly from a technical perspective, that's only part of the success story. People tend to resist change so change management is crucial to market the value and benefits of new work processes. All of this rests on solid and effective communication. If you don't keep business leaders and users well-informed, they are likely to reject the new software. In turn, the SuccessFactors implementation could become a failure.

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Which steps of this SuccessFactor implementation checklist surprised you, if any?
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Great checklist! Thorough, concise. From experience I would also stress, beyond the communication aspect of change management, the importance of incorporating in admins' and key users' learning plans courses and certifications that are available to customers. Even if support services are contracted, knowledgeable and empowered system admins and users can boost system adoption by making the most of a rich set of intuitive tools that SuccessFactors offers.
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