Scoping matters. It matters because until you have understood the implications and impact of the HRIS configuration your decision-making is inadequately informed. As a HRIS vendor consultant, you cannot give value-adding advice about configuration, project methodology or process design unless you understand the organisational context, the managerial/user culture, the direction set, the resources on the ground, the nature of the work. As an independent consultancy service, Phase 3 invest heavily in scoping – and in doing so for the longer-term – because we believe that it is a holistic approach that’s going to ensure that the choices you make as a client result in a gently transformative implementation, rather than a succession of bolt-on solutions.

I should stress that the greater the integrative potential of your chosen HRIS (and one respect in which I’m a great advocate of iTrent, for example) the more this is true, because one choice – as simple as the use that you make of a structure-related field – will inform other modules or the tools you wish to interface with the HRIS core. Again a desperately simple note worth making is that if you’re going to need a report on this, then tell us – to make sure our advice is based on an end-goal that includes full Business Objects or Cognos reporting, for example.

Scoping matters for service style too. Please do consider the way in which your supporting partners are best to work with you as an organisation. Are you best suited to intensive work or to occasional support? Which are the missing skills you are going to need available to you? What is the breadth of the consultancy support you envisage in coming months? Are you happy to have expertise working remotely or do you need someone onsite? I do not suggest that these are questions you should have to come up with as a client organisation, but I do suggest that they are questions you should be asked and are wise to answer to thoughtfully.

I have made the case for a challenge to the apparent truism that we are “All talk and no action” and advocated quite a bit of talking in system selection, blue-printing and scoping, both of technical requirement and expert service partnering. Extend the same thought into your ongoing team-work to enable you, as a project or HR leader, to make informed choices that are impactful and holistic, at the right times and with a strategic mind-set.


If you read my previous article “All action and no talk” about the balance between getting on with things and taking enough talk to understand impact of partnering and decision-making, then by now you may be resolute on a bit more of one or the other. For those wishing further to prod a troubling conscious on this point, perhaps you will enjoy a little check-list for some self-diagnosis, sufficiently transparent that I trust you can provide your own chosen score sheet.
My HRIS project typically gets behind because:

  1. Things have to be re-built or revisited, or
  2. The systems team have too many meetings and not enough time at their desks

My HRIS consultant is great because:

  1. He/she doesn’t need to ask too many questions and can get on with implementing right away, or
  2. He/she spends most of their time talking to me, so I feel it’s all about us

I know I’m making a success of my HRIS implementation because:

  1. I have to spend very little time on it and things are really motoring on, or
  2. I know exactly about each work package my team members are involved in and we discuss all the choices

Our reports are typically created:

  1. By a data analyst at the point we need them once we are live – we tend to collect quite a few and I am not sure that all are used
  2. By detailed requirements gathering involving a number of potential users – we make sure everything goes in there and end up with complex reports that are not easy for us to edit/update

We put the end-users first in that we:

  1. Have our eye on making sure deadlines are achieved and have a clearly defined phase 1 milestone
  2. Conduct focus groups, run pilots and involve representative users at every step

My greatest concern for our HRIS implementation in the long-term is:

  1. I don’t really have a clear organisational picture as to how this all joins up
  2. I am aware that we are taking a very long time to get where I would like to be and we seem to be eating up resources

Please forgive the simplicity of my statements here. There is of course a happy medium and it is that balance between talk and action, with scoping mattering, that I love to help people find.

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